Sunday, December 31, 2023

Another day more or less accounted for -- and we’re more than a week past the darkest day! It’s easy when you try. A very happy new year to you all, when it comes, and happy celebrations tonight if that’s what you choose. I think Edinburgh’s street party has been fully restored post-COVID and if so I will probably wake up to hear the fireworks and see a few of the highest of them, above the trees in Drummond Place Gardens.


I used to have a copy of Lotus Organiser (this is an old computer) which I kept for knitting, and especially for this time of year when I record what I had accomplished in the year just past [not much, in this case, as you can see in the sidebar], and what I hoped to do in the New Year, and what the first two radio headlines were on 1/1/????. So far this evening I can’t figure out/remember how to load it. Perhaps I should just launch a new copy tomorrow.


Not much knitting, but some. C. came and we had a nice time as always. She will come back tomorrow with various people to welcome in 2024.


Wordle: We found it fairly easy on the whole. Half of us on this side of the pond scored four, including me. The outliers were Rachel, with 6 – she got stuck on Grn, Grn, ???, ???, grn for three guesses. Alexander did it in three, Mark in two, Over there in DC it was two for Roger -- !!! – and three for Theo.

Saturday, December 30, 2023


 I‘m beginning to be afraid that I haven’t got the picture of me being carried down the steps. I’ll have to get it from Helen.


Knitting: I think I neglected to report on that at all yesterday. I haven’t done much lately. I have, however, left the sleeves behind on waste yarn and assumed the rest into a cylinder. I’m fond of fisherman’s rib. I knit a whole dress in it from a VKB when I was young, and never wore it but once because it instantly stretched to ankle-length or beyond. In my middle years I knit a two-colour half-brioche sweater for myself twice. I loved them dearly until the moths got them. Two-colour half-brioche is easy: you use a dp and slide the work back and forth when necessary.


I was a bit taken aback last night to discover that single-colour half-brioche – which is what is required for the Spalding – is not quite as easy as I assumed it would be. You’ve got to remember how to move the yarn back and forth with every stitch. It’s not quite as obvious or as easy as k1, p1. There are two separate pattern-rows, too.  Full-scale fisherman’s, however, can be done from one side only, I think, by alternating k1 and k1below. I should be able to do a bit more this evening and report more fully tomorrow.


It has been a quiet day here, dark and cold. We even had a brief bit of slushy snow. Helen came, and we advanced life a wee bit. The current carer has been a short-order cook in her day. The professional touch lingers and is very welcome. I had been losing appetite with the stress of recent days. I begin every day with wilted spinach upon which is poached an egg, With Abiola, the egg is poached to perfection and – even more welcome – the spinach is not served in a little pool of water.


“The Secret of Cooking” (see yesterday) continues well. I’ve just hit a patch of delicious-sounding salad recipes. Which reminds me that I have recently signed up for a Substack (new word) called The Department of Salad by Emily Nunn. That’s recommended too, if you like Substacks and like salads.


Wordle: Another pretty easy one. I scored four, but that was because I got line three wrong, by sheer bad luck, as often happens. (Good luck often happens, too.) My line three was grn, grn, brn, brn, grn. All I had to do was reverse the two browns, and I did that, of course, in line 4. Mark, Thomas and Ketki also scored four; three for Alexander and Rachel.  Four for Roger, three for Theo.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Here I am back in the catalogue room with my laptop computer. I can still type with both hands. I seem to be connected to the world , but I’m not sure, and I haven’t yet been able to play a reassuring hand of Freecell. People have been messing around in here since I last sat at this desk.


   Here are some pictures to be going on with. I can’t remember whether I have shewn you Paradox in her new home:

 She is clearly a happy cat. Below, you see my two newest great-grandchildren, Rachel’s two newest grandchildren, both boys after seven girls. The grownups are the latest parents, Lizzie and Dan -- Dan is holding their son Lennie. And Rachel, who has got her slightly older grandson Freddie.


And Freecell seems to be in operation. I have been thinking for some time of replacing this computer – it’s out-o-date and desperately slow. And money is haemorrhaging forth at an alarming rate on my care and the re-constitution of the downstairs lavatory. Maybe I’ve better spend it while I’ve got it.


We’ve had a jolly Christmas, as I hope have all of you. Helen solved the problem of access by finding a sling arrangement which allowed two of her sons to carry me down the stairs, and eventually back up. That will be a picture for tomorrow. Life has been somewhat stressful. Wafa is gone, and much missed.  We parted in mutual tears. My current carer is named Abby. She comes from Nairobi and is a better cook than I have had so far.


I gave two people on my list Bee Wilson’s “The Secret of Cooking” for Christmas, and on the recommendation of one of them have bought it for myself. I am enjoying it. Recommended.

A bit of knitting, but not much. I had better return to that subject tomorrow, too.

 Wordle: I’ve done it every day. No failures. My current winning streak is 32 – nearly up to half of my maximum streak. In fact, the level has been rather low (=easy) lately. Today was mostly threes, except that Thomas had 2 and Theo 4.


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

 I’m sorry about the gap. All’s well, but Christmas presses, even in my reduced state. Maybe it would be better to log off now until sometime next week. Merry Christmas to all. 

  Rachel came and went from/to London yesterday. She had trouble with delayed trains — much stress but fortunately not too much delay. Essentially she was here for a long lunch. C. and Helen came. We had kedgeree and a green salad. At the end, Mungo joined us, home from Cairo for the Christmas holiday, looking well. Wafa says his spoken Arabic is remarkably good. He doesn't know what he wants to do with it.

  Virtually no knitting, always a bad sign, but I am nevertheless only one wrong-side row short of the point where I leave the sleeve stitches behind. 

   And it’s less than 48 hours until the solstice.

   Wordle: lots of threes and fours lately. Today over here there were two twos, Mark and Thomas; two threes, Alexander and Rachel; and two fours, me and Ketki. In DC, a distinguished three for Roger and a most uncharacteristic five for Theo.



Sunday, December 17, 2023

 The weather is still deficient, but we had a pretty good day otherwise. C. came. Christmas seems to be largely in hand. I think Monday is a pretty convenient day for it to fall on.  We looked out but didn’t deploy my few ornaments. The one thing absolutely fixed about Christmas is to decorate while listening (live) to the carol service from King’s  College Cambridge.

  It begins with a stunning unaccompanied solo of the first  verse of “Once in Royal David’s City” by a boy soprano. After that first verse the organ and the rest of the choir chime in, and Christmas starts. I have always understood that until the BBC green light goes on and the choirmaster points at one of them, the boys themselves don’t know which one it will be. And we still won’t know for a few heartbeats longer, whether he can hit and hold with ease the high note on “MAR-y was that mother mild”. 

  I heard one such boy, now grown to man’s estate, reminiscing about the experience on a television programme once. He said that when the finger pointed at him, there was a brief and terrifying moment when he couldn’t remember the words.

   No doubt in a year or two they’ll have girls in the King’s College choir and the fun will be over.

   Rachel will make a flying visit to Edinburgh on Tuesday. C. will join us for lunch, and Helen I hope. Kedgeree? 

   Wordle: Roger, Theo, Thomas, Rachel and Mark were today’s fours. Three for the rest — Ketki, Alexander and I. 


Friday, December 15, 2023

 James is gone. Much missed. Wafa and I have had a quiet day. There were faint shafts of sunshine this morning, but the weather has reverted to horrible.

  Thank you for your suggestions about getting out of here. I am very much taken with yours, Rebecca, of going down sideways. We may have a trial run of that one tomorrow. I may not have made it sufficiently clear that these steps are (a) cement and (b) external. I don’t think going down on one’s bottom would be feasible although otherwise it would be a brilliant idea. Standing up again at the bottom might be hard. And what about getting up the stairs later on?

  A permanent ramp might disfigure Drummond Place. Ketki is investigating long-term solutions of that nature. But nothing could be ready for Christmas. 

  I’ve knit a bit further. The second ball of yarn is looking subdued. The work is looking very good.

  Wordle: I was the first to report this morning, with a perfectly creditable three. Or so I thought, until Mark, Alexander and Ketki reported twos one after another. Eventually Rachel joined me with another three, Thomas and Roger had four, Theo five.



Thursday, December 14, 2023

 I’m sorry about the gap. The cause was nothing more serious than James’ arrival. We’re having a nice time, in a quiet way. Alexander and Ketki are coming tomorrow.

Anonymous, I was desperately pleased by your comment — you remembered that I start Wordle every day with TRAIN and HOUSE.  TRAIN won ages ago, probably years. After that happened, I switched the order so that HOUSE would be in position when its day came. And now it has! I shall revert to the former order which seems more natural and feels more useful although that is absurd.

You’re right about not taking the cat along for Christmas dinner, assuming I manage to get down those steps. She deserves some pussy cat down time, as James rightly says.

That much I composed for you yesterday, but didn’t post. Now it’s Thursday…

Alexander and Ketki and Helen and Archie came for a takeaway lunch. 

We practised getting me out and down the six steps at the front door, without much success. In June or so I could go to Mass with C. by holding on to our railing with one hand and to her with the other. That no longer works.

The party then tried carrying James down the stairs in our smaller wheelchair. Much laughter but something approaching success. The alternative will be for me and Wafa to cook the bird and Helen and her family to arrive midmorning with everything else, already cooked.

The odd thing about this situation is that I still feel, as throughout life, that I will soon be better.

Wordle: five for me yesterday. I got stuck with four greens and a missing second letter. Rachel had one of those today, with the first letter missing. She scraped home with six. Alexander and I scored three — the day’s best. Fours largely elsewhere, including both Theo and Roger. Thomas was an undistinguished, and unchacteristic, five.

Monday, December 11, 2023

 More dreadful weather, with still more forecast. But the winter solstice is now within sight. (Friday the 22nd at 3:27, in GB) Again, the day seemed busy and no knitting got done in the morning. Helen came.  A physiotherapist came. James himself will be here tomorrow for a few days’ Christmas visit. 

  I’ve finished that “rows 1-4 six more times” section in the yoke of the Spalding, and made a few modest adjustments to the stitch count. There’ll be a chance to adjust again when I actually leave the sleeve stitches behind. I have at last more or less mastered what is required. It goes a bit faster now that I don’t have to peer at the pattern for every row.

  Wafa thinks we should take the cat along to Helen’s house for Christmas dinner. On the other hand, nobody much — including the physiotherapist who was here this morning — seems to think I can be safely got there myself. The alternative is to eat here, and I suppose we should make tentative plans.

  Wordle: singularly easy today. Thomas and Roger were the laggards, with four. Theo, Alexander, Mark and Rachel got three. Ketki would normally have carried away the palm with her distinguished two — except that I scored one.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

 Filthy weather continues. C. came to see me. Christmas has reached the slightly silly stage when no expense seems too great. Does Thanksgiving save you from that in the US? 

Knitting progresses. I did four long, long rows today without looking at the pattern. The difficulty being that there are several forms of the right-side-increase row. I’m in a section for which the instruction is “repeat rows 1-4 six times”. I’ve done five of them, and I think it would be just as well to count stitches before I proceed. After that there will be 16 more rows until the happy instruction to “ Proceed to all sizes resume..”

Comments yesterday: Tamar, Wafa has already found the four copies of Knitter’s Magazine from the turn of the millennium, where Meg expands on and elucidates the EPS. They are safely back on the shelf where they belong. A great relief.Gretchen, I don’t know exactly where she found the key to the carriage clock — it was on the shelf of a bookcase at the far end of the corridor: completely impossible.

Wordle: my starters did all the work. An easy three for me. Rachel and Mark and Thomas also got three. Alexander and Ketki both needed four, with identical grids consisting only of greens. In DC, Roger had three and Theo four. I think C. said she got it in three, but without being able to refer to her score in Signal I can’t entirely trust my memory.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

 Filthy weather, spitting sleet at the windows. However, it was perhaps a degree or two warmer and I may be an inch or two better, despite the lack of new medication.

   Knitting went well. I have finished the first ball of yarn — measurable progress. The row is now very long, but  it is a considerable comfort that nothing will have to be repeated — I am knitting the whole thing, neck down. And the bit where I leave the shoulder/sleeve stitches behind is now within sight. And the dropped shoulders are pretty low. Lots to be cheerful about.

  Anonymous (yesterday): C. Is my niece Clare. My husband’s niece, strictly — his only sister’s daughter. She has been as a daughter to me since her mother died, a good many years ago now.

  Have I told you about our carriage clock? Wafa found the key. Many years ago, when we lived in Birmingham, we had a bad burglary. That clock went, although the key was left behind. Many months later I saw it in the window of a jeweller in the city centre.

  It was all rather like the evidences for God in Newman’s Grammar of Assent. I couldn’t prove it was our clock. But it said “Edinburgh” on the front — my husband had inherited it from his Edinburgh grandfather. And it had a  honest Arabic face — the vast majority of such clocks have Roman numerals.

  And the clincher was when I went in and bought it. It had been supplied with a clumsy modern key, which I left behind in the shop, knowing that the key left behind by the burglars would fit. So I was particularly distressed recently when the key couldn’t be found, and particularly pleased the other day when Wafa found it. 

  Wordle: I was the only three. No glory in that — Alexander scored two. Thomas and his mother Ketki and Rachel had fours. Mark lagged behind with five. Roger and Theo in DC were both four. (C. is a fairly faithful Wordle-doer but not  member of our little group.)


Friday, December 08, 2023

 C. came this morning and wrapped up some xmas presents for me. They look very well. I have sent Helen home with presents for herself and David, to keep things as simple as possible here. I calculated that if I still gave presents on my former principle, to all my blood descendants, the number would be above 30. 

  I mustn't forget that C’s own present is still to be wrapped, even though she is not related in blood.

 I continued to feel not-quite this morning. C. called a doctor. A pleasant young woman actually came and measured vital signs and said I have some crackle in the lungs — fluid or infection. She didn’t prescribe anything. I was glad about that. I’m still not-quite.

  I got a couple of rows of knitting done. The rows are so long these days that that is almost a creditable achievement. 

  Wordle: my starters almost solved it themselves this morning — an easy three. That was a popular score — but Ketki did it in two and Alexander needed four. Theo and Roger in DC both took four. 


Thursday, December 07, 2023

 Wind, rain, cold. I tried to adopt your excellent suggestion of wearing a hat, Tamar, but to my embarrassment nothing very suitable could be found. Should I abandon all this ridiculous knitting and knit myself a hat? 

I am sorry for two days of silence. All is well, except that, perhaps, I have a bit of a cold. The dr said recently that I must let him know at the first sign of a lung infection so that an antibiotic can be started promptly. But if this is just a cold, an antibiotic won’t help and it will harm the microbiome. There’s no cough, let alone a productive one. No knitting yesterday — that’s a bad sign.

Helen was here briefly this morning on her way to Kirkmichael, to meet a man who was going to value the house, her thought being to buy out the other three and live there. I have given her my 1/6 and my busband’s so she now owns half (if my arithmetic suffices) but I have to live for quite a while for the value of the gift to be entirely removed from my estate for inheritance tax purposes. I’m not sure I’m up to it.

Random thot: there seems to be a lot of volcanic activity in the world all of a sudden. Indonesia and Mount Etna and cracks opening up in Iceland to the extent that they have emptied a whole village. 

Wordle:  It took Wafa to crack it (in four) yesterday: I had three greens but was totally baffled. The word was WOMAN. Today the cisAtlantic team all got four except for Ketki who scored three. There’s no news from Mark. In DC Theo was another four and his father Roger a brilliant two. 

Monday, December 04, 2023

 Still seriously cold. Maybe when it warms up a bit, I’ll venture into the catalogue room (so-called) and write you a proper message on my computer, with pictures. For the time being I huddle in the sitting room  under a heated blankie and pick out words with one finger on my iPad.

  Helen came to see us. The first of the presents I ordered yesterday turned up.

   Knitting continued to advance, slow but steady. I’m knitting (Brooklyn Tweed’s Spalding pattern) from the top down. There are 62 rows, or thereabouts, before I leave stitches behind for the sleeves. I’ve knit 20. It’s a start.

   Mary Lou, I hope your yarn turned up, and that you like it. It’s one of life’s better experiences.

   Wordle:  not much difficulty today. My starters gave me two greens and two browns. I scored an easy three.  Mark , Theo, Rachel and Ketki shared that score. Roger and Alexander were the fours, Thomas the lonely outlier with five.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

 Bitter, bitter cold. The winter of 1962-3, when Helen was born, was one of the bitterest in recent memory — and it started early. 

  I pretty well finished all the Christmas shopping I intend to do. So that’s something. 

  C. came to see me, with her friend Ian, the man to whom we are both forever grateful for driving us to and from Oban for both of our cruises in 2021.

  Knitting continued well. I did only three rows which doesn’t sound like much. But I must remember that although I cast on only 55, and that number remained fairly constant through all those false starts, it is now increasing by rapid, irregular amounts. It is looking well. 

  I finished The Running Grave. I would have enjoyed the denouement more if I had had the characters straighter in my head. I wonder if they’ll televise this one? 

  Wordle: I was today’s dunce with 5. There were 4’s for Alexander, Thomas and Ketki. Mark and Rachel distinguished themselves with 3’s. In DC, Roger was another 4 and Theo is so far silent.

Saturday, December 02, 2023

 Still cold, but perhaps a little less so. We’ve had a quiet day, briefly visited by Helen. They’re having open days at the studios amongst which is the one where she makes mosaics (when she can escape from family responsibilities).

   The Downstairs Lavatory is back in action. Amazing.

   Knitting has progressed peacefully. This thing (Brooklyn Tweed “Spalding”) begins at the neck and is knit downwards. The shoulder shaping is slightly fancy — hence the initial difficulty.

   And I’ve read a lot more of The Running Grave. It has picked up speed since the mid-book slump, without exactly introducing any rabbits or hats. I can’t keep all the names straight and have given up trying. The overall effect is somewhat depressing — or maybe I am feeling low because of immobility and darkness and my old friend’s death. 

   Somewhere — the BBC website, I think — I’ve seen pages of pictures of the Christmas decorations at the White House. I did not notice any hint of ox or ass or even sheep. Is the President’s Catholicism entirely a matter of anti-Englishness?

   Wordle: Ketki and Mark and Roger were the stars today, with three. Alexander and Rachel and I scored four. Thomas and Theo needed five.

Friday, December 01, 2023

 Bitter cold. All’s well. I think we’ve got a functioning downstairs lavatory. Plumbers have been banging away in there all day, and hopeful messages have emerged. Helen has been here all day, too, supervising and encouraging.

  The knitting has gone well. I’m definitely getting the hang of it. The problem is going to be keeping track of which row I’m on. I am determined to be very careful. 

   And I have continued to read The Running Grave. No hats, no rabbits, increasing gloom, but increasing interest as well. Still a long way to go. 

  Wordle: Silence from Alexander today. That’s unusual. Two from Mark, three from me, four for the other Brits. In DC, four for Theo and five for Roger. I have something to say about today’s word but will probably have forgotten by tomorrow. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

 52% — still no sign of a rabbit. (A reference to JKRowling and The Running Grave and yesterday’s message here.)

   Wafa and I have had a busy-feeling day. The one long-lasting result has been the cranberry sauce. Should I worry about whether it will keep that long? Nobody came to see us.

   Not much knitting, either, because our busy-ness kept us in the kitchen all morning. But I’ve done a bit more. I think I’m past the point of no return. I’ve reached the point, to put it another way, where the knitting itself begins to guide my steps. The instructions remain labyrinthine — “work row 1 of yoke increase row A” and that in turn consists largely of “row 1 of half brioche stitch (flat)”. I think they could have been simplified.

  Wordle: it didn’t seem very easy to me, but we all found it so. My starters gave me two greens. and three browns — a complete anagram

  There were four threes and two fours for the British team. The fours were Alexander and Ketki. In DC Roger swelled the ranks of the threes, and Theo posted a stunning two. 


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

 Cold, very.

  Sylvia’s funeral is tomorrow. This time last week she was busy with Thanksgiving.

   A busy day here. Wafa is back, and has taken over. A nice man has come and exposed the leaking pipe in the downstairs lavatory — remember that? — so that another nice man can come on Friday and mend it. 

  I am continuing to read The Running Grave, the new JK Rowling. I had completely failed to notice how utterly enormous it is. It feels as if I ought to be 75% of the way through at least. The truth is 41%. She had better be lurking with a couple of hats, at least, each containing a first-rate rabbit, or I may be forced to give up.

   Not much knitting. I made a brioche swatch. That helped somewhat. I simplified the make-one-lefts and make-one-rights in the actual pattern. I started yet again. My only ambition now is to progress far enough that I can sweep past mistakes. 

   Wordle: five for me and Roger and Rachel, four for Alexander and Mark, three for Ketki and Thomas. No news from Theo. His mother says that he has not really recovered from the Covid that kept him away from Thanksgiving in London. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

 The first thing I did, when I heard of Sylvia’s death, was to write to the third member of the Gang of Three we once formed. Her name is Ann and she lives near Seattle. I didn’t hear from her all day yesterday. I’d know if she were dead, but I feared incapacity. But I heard from her this morning. I had forgotten to allow for the time difference. She’s fine or as fine as anyone is at 90. 

  One of my food magazines in this morning’s post has an interview with Madhur Jaffrey. She shares my birthday — not just day and month but also year. She sounds fitter than I am, but not much stronger. 

  Knitting has progressed. I have embarked on the Spalding, trying to take it an instruction at a time, as advised. The instructions are abundant, in the Brooklyn Tweed fashion. But I don’t think they are as clear as they might be. However, I think I’m getting on top of it. Fifth attempt? Something like that. Half-strength fisherman’s rib is not being done the way I remember. I think it’s best (blind follower that I am) to figure out the instructions and try to follow them, rather than trying at this stage to improve then.

   The yarn is BT’s Tones, two shades of. It’s rather super.

   Bad news and grey skies sent me back last night to my blog entries of a year ago. I’ve lost a surprising amount of ground since then.

  Wordle: four for me today. I was joined there by Rachel, Roger and Theo. Thomas, Mark and Ketki three. Alexander today’s star with a two.

Monday, November 27, 2023

 My friend of 70 years, Sylvia Huntley Horowitz, writes a private blog, available only to subscribers. She is avyear old than I am — we met at Oberlin. But much more active. She lives alone with her cat Frankie, but family lives nearby and she sees them frequently. She hosts a Sabbath meal almost every Friday, for family and occasional rabbis. A five-mile walk every week with fellow-retired-faculty from the local university. And much else. The last message I had from her was on Saturday. Thanksgiving had been cleared away, the good plates washed and dried by hand and carefully replaced in their cupboard. Then a substantial party went out to an Indian restaurant to celebrate her great-grandson Mendel’s second birthday. He cheerfully ate Indian food, Sylvia reported.

  Then in the next few hours she fell and hit her head and had a stroke — I do not know the sequence of those events — and died in hospital a few hours later.

   I am shaken, and very sad. It is, for Sylvia, a very enviable death. But for me another black day in a black season. We've just had my husband’s birthday. We are a couple of days away from the anniversary of saddest day in my family history.  

 I failed at Wordle today, which seems rather appropriate. I achieved grn, grn, ???, ???, grn by line 3, and persistently guessed wrong. Mark had that configuration too, for a while, but shook himself out of it in time to score six. Five for Alexander and Thomas. Four for Rachel, Ketki, Theo and Roger.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

 Cold. That’s what it is.

   Thank you for your comments. I think you have established that bread sauce is not commonplace in the USofA. It is essentially bread crumbs soaked until they swell in warm, seasoned milk with a generous addition of butter. In these days of Google, it shouldn’t be hard to find a recipe. Delicious. Alexander and Ketki were here today. She is American, and agrees thatwe don’t have bread sauce and that it is one of the best things about Christmas. She, also, gives a slight edge to cranberry sauce.

   Two pieces of (mild) excitement today:

   (1) I started reading Robert Galbraith’s (=JK Rowling’s) new thriller, The Running Grave, because it was so highly recommended in some newspaper as a book-of-the-year. I’m enjoying it. I thought the last Cormoran Strike book was a bit flat. Had she run out of steam? This one, so far, is back on form. 

   (2) The yarn for Spalding arrived from Brooklyn Tweed. (That was quick.) I had told you I was hovering, but hadn’t mentioned that I succumbed because I felt rather guilty about it.

   The yarn is beautiful, I still love the pattern, but a first horrified glance-over made me wonder whether I was capable of it. It’s top-down, and begins with some slightly fancy yoke shaping. I’ll feel braver in the morning.

Wordle: Three for Ketki and Roger. Four for Thomas, Alexander and Mark. Five for Theo and Rachel and I. WordleBot was kind enough to say that I was unlucky in my fourth-row choice.

Friday, November 24, 2023

 No crises today. The new carer is named Judith. We have had a peaceful time of it. Alexander and Ketki are coming tomorrow. I bought his Christmas present recently — the only one so far. Helen came this morning and kindly wrapped it up for me.

  And the knitting has advanced. Knitting the body, each one of the three-round stripes takes so long that it qualifies as a day’s work. Now, the stripe is finished in an instant and it’s time to fasten in another colour. I’ve done the basic arithmetic — how to space the increases. We shall see. I’m confident. This is not my first EPS.

  The Londoners are going to have their Thanksgiving anyway tomorrow. Theo has sent them the spreadsheet. He is a brilliant organiser. I’ve heard a bit of it, and was surprised that bread sauce wasn’t included. Is that just a British thing? It was my husband’s favourite bit of Christmas dinner and has almost become mine although I remain faithful to cranberry sauce in the end.

   If it is particularly British, it’s another reason for being sorry that Theo and his family aren’t coming — we could have introduced them to bread sauce. 

   Tomorrow will be the first time that Rachel and Ed’s nine grandchildren — seven girls and (recent additions) two boys — will all have been together.

   Wordle: we were scattered about today. Mark scored two, as he not infrequently does. Roger needed five. Most of the British scored four, including me. Theo and Alexander were the threes.

     I don’t know why the font size skips about in this unmannerly fashion. It’s time I faced up to using the computer (instead of the iPad) for composition again.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

 Today/yesterday’s excitement has been that my new carer, Michelle, developed a severe allergy to life in Drummond Place, presumably because of Perdita. So an emergency carer has been flown in, so to speak, named Judith, and Wafa will come back on Wednesday. 

  Perdita takes it all rather calmly. She seems to know that with Wafa away, she must apply to the next carer for cat food, but in fact she is getting it all from me. No luck with luring her to bed, but it’s only been one night.

  I still have a little bit of sweater cuff to knit. I am what EZ classified as a “blind follower” if ever there was one, and find it slightly unnerving not to know how much cuff I am aiming at. Carry on until it looks about right, and do that much again for the other sleeve. Those four copies of Knitter’s from 2000 which I can’t find translated it all into a simple raglan sweater.

   I hope you have all enjoyed your turkey. Theo, who has Covid, isn’t feeling too bad. I hope he will have been able to celebrate with his family and his parents. Meanwhile I am told that the London party is to go ahead without him, being the first time that all the London cousins -  all of Rachel’s grandchildren, to put it another way — have been together in one place. Seven girls and (recent additions) two boys. 

  Wordle: nobody had much trouble today. Threes and fours everywhere. Alexander, Thomas and Theo were the fours. No news yet from Mark. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

 Wafa is gone. Michelle is here. It’s all more than slightly scary, when you’re as helpless as I now am.  But Michelle seems very nice, and all is well. And anyway I think Helen will be around this evening. 

  Quite a bright day, although very cold, I am told. I knit very happily on, and should finish the ribbing for the first sleeve tomorrow. Meg says in the EPS leaflet which arrived opportunely from Schoolhouse yesterday that you can use the system to knit in either direction, but she prefers to do it this way — get the relatively boring body out of the way first. The rest goes so much faster.

  I’m certainly finding it fun so far to whiz around a 60-stitch wrist as opposed to a 288-stitch body.

  Perdita has begun to notice Wafa’s absence and is worried (as am I) that I won’t be up to feeding her.

  Wordle: I would regard today’s word as on the tough side, and was pleased with my four. My two starters yielded two brown vowels. I struggled for a long time to think of any word that would fit, and finally hit on one that was much less than satisfactory. I knew it would be wrong, but it turned both vowels green. After much thought and messing around, I found a fully-qualified guess, and it was right.

  Theo and Alexander got the threes. Thomas and Mark were my fellow-fours. Ketki and Rachel were the fives. Roger needed six.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

 Wafa’s last day for a while. All is stress and anxiety.

And on top of that, Theo and his family aren’t on the way after all. He has COVID. They weren’t planning to celebrate until Saturday which perhaps leaves a little time to cancel the turkey and freeze the cranberries. But it’s sad.

  I reached the armholes of my EPS sweater. And what should arrive in this morning’s post but the Schoolhouse Press EPS leaflet!  I spent much of the day hovering on the brink, calculating and re-calculating the sleeve. I finally cast it on and actually ribbed a few rounds.   

  Thank you, Mary Lou and Sarah, for your comments about the cat. Alas, I can’t find what I wrote on the subject. I think with a little rearrangement I will be able to feed her myself. I’ll put a folded blanket at the foot of my bed, which is how she used to like to sleep. We shall see. Maybe she’ll prefer to stay in the kitchen with the Aga.

  Wordle: threes and fours without exception today. Alexander and Ketki were the only fours, on either side of the pond.

Monday, November 20, 2023

 Bits of brightness today, too.

The sourdough turned out well, Robin, although perhaps not quite well enough. We made two loaves this time. Wafa wanted to bake one on Saturday evening. I left the other to rise overnight in the refrigerator. I think I got slightly better oven spring with mine but I think we can do better.

Wafa is going off for a fortnight’s respite on Wednesday. Her replacement is from Zimbabwe. I hope to win my dear cat back. I don’t think it will be impossible to feed her myself and maybe she will remember that she always used to share my bed, before I introduced that Awful Cat. 

Archie came to lunch. 

I knit busily on and have at last reached the underarms. Now I must work out what to do next. 

 My nephew Theo and his family are coming to celebrate Thanksgiving with his English cousins in London. Theo is organising it all from afar.

Wordle: I was lucky to scrape home with a six today. The home team otherwise were all threes and fours. And it was fours in DC for Theo and Roger. Perhaps I should mention,  honoris causa, that the threes were Alexander, Mark, and Ketki. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

 A brighter day, and a successful lunch party. “Kedgeree” has been added to Wafa’s extensive English vocabulary. We used Delia Smith’s recipe. Wafa also made some tabouleh. 

  I watched a lot of the new issue of The Crown last night. Not much more than mildly amusing.

  Helen and I have been doing paperwork, as I mentioned. One of her problems is to reactivate an account of mine which the bank has frozen because they say I don’t use it enough. She phoned — she has power of attorney. The bank kept asking what she wanted to do. She kept telling them. If that’s the best AI can do, I don’t think we need to worry yet about its taking over the world. 

  Wordle: four was the basic score today — Theo, Alexander, Thomas, Mark. Rachel and I scored five. Ketki was a brilliant three. Roger hasn’t done it yet. 


Saturday, November 18, 2023

 Guess what? Grey and wet. Perhaps slightly less cold. We have been concerned with sourdough all day. It’s now waiting in the refrigerator overnight. I either supervised or actually performed all the operations myself — if this one comes out flat, I’ll know where to start looking for changes.

  No knitting at all.

  We’re having a little lunch party tomorrow— C. and Helen and David. Kedgeree and middle-Eastern sides. Perhaps with a bit of freshly-baked bread.

  Matthew Parris’ column in this morning’s Times is first-rate, I thought, on the situation in Gaza. I won’t attempt to paraphrase.

  I watched a mildly interesting bit of Youtube yesterday about a Frenchwoman who communicates with animals mentally. (Why on earth did I do that? It’s no wonder I get so little knitting done.) She said animals were just like us in respect to various emotions.

  Where they are not like us is in respect to modesty. I have always thought it rather clever of the Old Testament authors to spot and exploit that point right at the beginning.

  Wordle: I had an almost instantaneous three today, joined there by Rachel and Mark. Alexander and Ketki scored four; Thomas needed five. Fours for father and son — Roger and Theo — in DC.

My policy these days is to struggle with what my two starters provide until I find a serious possible answer. Instead of settling for a Jean-word.





Friday, November 17, 2023

 Another grey, cold day, full of eventful non-event. Little was accomplished. C. dropped in. Helen has gone to London.  I did a bit of on-line Christmas thinking: no actual purchases. And I knit a bit. I took the sweater into the kitchen for some serious measuring, and found it no longer than before. Knitting has treated me like that before now.

  Thank you very much for your help on blogs. I had forgotten about the Socklady. I’ve even met her, once when she was passing through Edinburgh. Still alone in her mountain fastness, I was glad to see. Still with bears in the yard. But the last message was more than three months ago.

  Queer Joe has a delightful knitted chicken on his blog today.

   Wordle: I scored four today. No excuse for not getting three. I had all the information I was going to get — a green and two browns — and simply guessed an improbable word, although one which fully qualified. Wordle accepted it, but it was wrong.

  Mark scored two — again. Rachel and Ketki were the threes,  Alexander joined me on four, Thomas was an uncharacteristic five. The transatlantic team, Roger and Theo, were both four. 





Thursday, November 16, 2023

 And yet another grim, grey day, perhaps a bit less wet than some. Fairly eventful, although now that we have successfully reached the harbour of evening, it’s hard to remember anything of interest.

 A man came and measured me for a reclining chair. There was that.

 Knitting has progressed. One more round, to finish the current stripe, and it will be time, I’m sure, to do something else. Start knitting sleeves? 

 What’s happened to knitting blogs? I still hear from Queer Joe, most days — currently celebrating an unbelievable 40th anniversary with Thaddeus. I had a look at the Yarn Harlot just now — nothing since August. Thank goodness Meg writes occasionally. 

  Wordle: a quick and easy three for me this morning. My starters gave me four greens. There was at least one possibility beyond the right one, but I guessed right.

  Mark scored an unbelievable two. Rachel was with me on three, Thomas and Ketki four, Alexander five. Three for Roger, four for Theo.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

 Another November day. This morning a neighbour whose family used to have a house in Kirkmichael — a big house — came for coffee, with Helen. We had a good time sharing pictures and memories.

I knit industriously on. I must be very near the armhole now. I really must take a picture for you. It’s looking good. But no matter how much mojo returns in these last grey weeks, I am unlikely to finish in the calendar year. That means very little has been accomplished this year, only the two shawls. 

I don’t feel entirely well. Bowels, however, not lungs  — a good deal less worrying.

Wordel: Three forThomas and his mother Ketki. Four for me and  my son Alexander.  Five for Rachel.  Silence from Mark. Roger joined Thomas and Ketki with another three— the day’s stars. Theo scored four, like me and Alexander.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

 Dreadful November weather, grey and spitting with rain. Helen and Daniella — my former cleaner/carer — came to lunch. Both well. Daniella has a family of her own and can’t provide the live-in care I now need.

I feel droopy, and Wafa says I seem below par. 

Wafa insisted on doing the sourdough by herself. She had baked it before I appeared  in the kitchen at 7 a.m. It tastes nice, but again lacks oven spring and since I was excluded from the process at several crucial points, I am no nearer diagnosing the trouble. I know that the starter was lively. Helen took half of the bread home. 

Some knitting, not much.

A certain amount of discussion about getting me to Helen’s house on Christmas day. As recently as June (I think) I used to go to Mass with C. every week, descending the six steps outside my door by holding on tight to the railing with one hand and to C.’s hand with the other. Everybody says I am not strong enough to do that any more. The current thought is that I could be bumped down (and up) in my wheelchair by strong men, of which Helen has a good supply. 

You’re right, Mary Lou, that homemade are the best Christmas presents. I have but rarely, in a long life, allowed myself to knit presents. These dark, wet days are bad enough without adding nervous tension. There have been exceptions, including the memorable Christmas when I knit everybody a hat. 

Wordle: a true stinker today. I scored six, which was no disgrace — Roger, Theo, and Alexander failed. Five for Rachel and Mark, four for Ketki and Thomas (the stars of the day). I didn’t think much of the word, either. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

 A bit of storm today, with a fair bit of rain. 

I’ve done some knitting, worried now about my future capacity to do it. The shoulder feels mildly uncomfortable. The doctor when he was here recently recommended pain killers. I don’t take them, except occasionally at night, but I might try. 

Otherwise it has been a busy-seeming day. Archie came, and we gave him lunch. Helen came in the evening, much occupied with a multi-paged application for Assisted Living Allowance. If we get it, it will go some way to paying for Wafa. An NHS representative came in the morning a propos our application for free incontinance pants. That one seems hopeful. 

The newspapers are much occupied at this season with lists of things you might want to give people for Christmas. Sixty years ago I used to read such lists and reflect on how expensive everything was — nothing I could afford. And the same is true now that I am old and reasonably well-off. 

Wordle: I got a three all of my own today. The other threes were Rachel, Alexander, and Thomas. Ketki and Mark needed four. Much the same in DC: three for Roger, four for Theo.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

 We baked our sourdough. I wasn’t satisfied with the “oven spring”. Did we over-proof it yesterday? It was very lively. Or did we put it in the oven before it was hot enough this morning ? I forgot that Wafa turns the Aga down at night. She says that the bread tastes fine. I am eager to try again.

The weather was bright — sunny and cold. C. came. 

And I knit onwards a bit. I am beginning seriously to wonder whether I have lost the knack.

We are watching — Wafa is watching — a film about samurai. It’s a Japanese film, rather well-made. Everybody mounts and dismounts his horse on its right side.In Britain and the US at least, horses are mounted and dismounted from the left, invariably. Wafa says, doubtfully, that she thinks it’s from the right in the middle east. What an interesting and unexpected difference!

It’s not that the film is being shewn the wrong way around — everybody is conducting sword fights with their right hands.

Wordle: Wafa solved ours, again. My starters gave me one green and three browns. I refused to allow myself a Jean-word but much thought failed to produce an answer. Any answer. Wafa looked over my shoulder and got it quickly. So we scored three.

Three also for Mark and Alexander. Four for Ketki and Rachel and Thomas. Theo was another three, and Roger an outlier with five.


Saturday, November 11, 2023

 Brightness continued. Our day has been devoted to making sourdough again — the actual baking to be done tomorrow morning. The trouble with sourdough is that everybody does it differently. Levain or just bung in some starter? Knead or stretch and fold (or both)? One prove or two? How to shape dough at the end? Plus the constant twin anxieties about not enough  yeast action from your home-made starter, or too much, so that it collapses at the end.

It’s good fun, but oh dear. Very little knitting as a result. No visitors.

Chloe, thank you for your advice about the EPS. I haven’t tried to use my printer for a long time, and I fear it would ignore my instructions. It’s a nuisance. There’s a lot I’d like to print — patterns, mostly. I’ve been working from my Ravelry library — no fun. There’s a problem I ought to face up to.

Wordle: I scored four all by myself (no help from Wafa) today — a pretty poor show. Two for both Alexander and his pal Mark. Three for Ketki and Rachel and Thomas. Over in DC, a comforting four from Roger, silence from Theo. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

 A brighter day — and goodness, sunshine does lift the spirits. I had a bath this morning, and a pedicure this evening and am nothing if not clean.

Tamar, I meant to say: I agree about re-reading favourite passages from favourite books. I do that with Il Gattopardo from time to time: the dinner party where Tancred and Angelica first meet, the scene in which the Leopard is forced to ask her ill-bred (but enormously rich) father for her hand on Tancred’s behalf, the ball, the death of the Leopard, the final chapter. But Mansfield Park is so closely constructed that I find nothing for it but to re-read the whole.

Knitting moves forward, still slowly. I have now done about 13 of the 15 inches needed before the underarm and its decisions. I had an email from the Schoolhouse Press today, signed by Cully himself, to say that the EPS booklet I ordered will cost more because of inordinate postage. I must send more money or go for digital and let them send me money. I think I’ll stick with the print version.

Wordle. I scored a disgraceful five today because i overlooked one of the two browns I got for my starters. I also had two greens. If I had paid proper attention I might have scored four or even three. But the overlooking is a worrying feature.

Threes all round elsewhere, except four for Theo and a brilliant two for Rachel

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Again, a fairly bright day. Helen came and we dealt with some financial papers. Archie came to lunch. We gave him a Thai lamb salad of Nigella’s, well received, and kept back some lamb for Wafa to overcook for herself. She made some pleasant middle-Eastern side dishes. 

I knit onwards. Time to measure again. Time to decide exactly what I’m going to do when I reach armhole height.  

I watched a bit of the latest Fruity Knitting. The main interview is with a man who embroiders on knitting. I think I can skip him. The preliminary interview is about the sheep and the women of Iceland. That was interesting. Fruity Knitting hopes to visit Iceland in person next year.

We received particulars of the carer who will replace Wafa for a fortnight alarmingly soon. She’s from Zimbabwe and looks very nice. But it’s scary. 

I didn’t really finish this, but it’s time for bed. I failed Wordle today, no help from Wafa either. And it wasn’t a funny word. I just failed.


Wednesday, November 08, 2023

A brighter  day.

The knitting moved forward. Maybe I’m not too slow. Maybe it’s just that there’s a lot of it. I didn’t think about the Spalding today.

C. came this morning. Archie will be here tomorrow, for lunch. I’ll go for a salad from Nigella’s Express book. It’s based on a briefly-roasted fillet of lamb. Wafa doesn’t like rare meat, but we did well the other day by frying a steak briefly for me and leaving her to deal with the subsequent career of the other half. I think we can do the same tomorrow.

We have been watching horrifying pictures of Just Stop Oil demonstrators trying to smash up Velasquez’ Rokeby Venus. The reinforced glass stood up to them. It wouldn’t have happened if my husband had been Director  of the National Gallery. He would have had an alert custodian on duty in that and every other room. And if he was short-staffed, the room would have been closed. Velasquez!

Wordle: A funny one, to my taste. Wafa helped again, after I had struggled mightily. My starters gave me three browns. I finally found a fully-qualified line three — I then had two greens and a brown. She got it from there — four for us.

Alexander, Rachel, and Ketki needed five. Mark and Thomas joined us on four.  Theo five, Roger six. At least nobody failed. I think I might have done so, without Wafa.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Not too bad a day. Even some sunshine. Helen dropped in briefly. 

I have knit steadily on. I’ve measured again — singularly little progress. I have begun to worry about whether I suffer from more than torpor. Is that a twinge of arthritis  in my right shoulder? Or would I do better in another chair? 

I have continued to think about Brooklyn Tweed’s Spalding. Thank you for your sensible advice. But… I do like their Tones yarn. Loop in London stocks it, at about the same price-per-skein — but there would be no danger of a tremendous customs charge being imposed on the package when it arrived. Well, we shall see. I’ll keep you posted.

We watched some of the State Opening of Parliament this morning. I thot it would be good for Wafa but she turned out to be in the camp of those who think it is all  a waste of money. She asked about the significance of the poppies being worn in the lapels of the commentators. 

I had never heard of the Cap of Maintenance before, that I can remember. Wikipedia is interesting on the subject.

Wordle: Threes and fours for the British this morning, but silence from Mark. I was one of the threes, along with Rachel and Ketki. Roger and Theo both needed four. My three was really Wafa’s.

Monday, November 06, 2023

 I am sorry for yesterday’s silence. I felt droopy. There was nothing measurable wrong, and I wasn’t coughing. I think I feel better now. The droopiness may have been due to a three-day course of antibiotic I was taking because an infection had shewn up in a urine sample I had submitted for some reason or other.

  I have done some knitting, but I’m still not getting that delicious round-and-round feeling. I have let myself think about Brooklyn Tweed’s Spalding pattern. I have a dear sweater of my own knitting in the same stitch pattern, half-brioche. (If you do it on a DP anduse two colours and push the stitches back and forth, you can have vertical stripes.) My dear old sweater has fallen victim to moths, although I still wear it instead of a dressing gown in the morning.

  So I’d quite like a Spalding. But Brooklyn Tweed yarns are so very expensive as to cause even me to hesitate.

   Thanks for your book suggestions. I have fallen back on dear old Mansfield Park for the moment, but it’s long. I may not read all of it on this, my millionth visit.

Wordle: a most remarkable day.Half of the British-resident coterie scored three, the other half TWO. The twos were Alexander, Mark, and ME. In the USofA, Roger kept the pattern going with a three, but Theo needed four. 

Saturday, November 04, 2023

The weather was marginally less awful today, with even a few shafts of winter sunshine. Helen came. We got some financial chores done. She is worried about the new neighbour who appeared on the scene yesterday with a leak. I am not, as explained yesterday. We still don’t know whether Wednesday’s stormy rain penetrated the bathroom below our Downstairs Lavatory. 

And i’ve knit on. I’ve measured — there are only about 10” and I want 15 or so before I start fussing about armholes. I’ve got about 285 stitches and, as I said, a circumference takes a long time. I accomplished about an inch today.

Helen left her dog Farouk with us today. Wafa likes dogs better than cats and enjoyed taking him for walks.

I haven’t found anything to read since Osman. In fact, I feel rather more droopy than weather and season would entirely dictate. One of the many great things about reading on line — I have a Kindle app on my beloved iPad — is that you don’t have an accusing pile of half-read books in a corner of the room.

 Wordle: A toughish one again today. Mark scored three. Rachel needed five. Four for all the rest of us.

Friday, November 03, 2023


A miserable November day, on the one hand. But a promising one, on the other.


We received a hand-delivered letter from a neighbour about water getting in to their flat. They weren’t blaming us, just informing. If their investigations reveal a cause due to a defect in a communal building, we might have to help pay for communal repairs.


It is very hard to figure out how the buildings inter-relate around here. The ground behind Drummond Place runs very steeply downhill. Water – weather-related water, I am sure – is getting in to three flats on a level with us, or below. We have been living without our Downstairs Lavatory since June, or the assumption that the offender was a hard-to-reach pipe of ours. But maybe it wasn’t. The next thing to find out is whether the flat immediately below the Downstairs Lavatory has had any water in during recent storms. Is there a window in their bathroom? There is undoubtedly something wrong with the guttering somewhere above. Water sometimes comes down in sheets. William of Occam, my comfort in many a crisis, would agree that a common cause should at least be considered for all these leaks.


I’ve knit a bit, but not much. I don’t seem to be able to get myself into the expected happy knit-round-and-round groove. I hope this doesn’t mean that knitting is giving way, like walking.

Thank you for your comments on nursing homes. My mother had a very good deal, obviously -- no increase in the monthly payment even if she needed care. She didn't appreciate it and eventually went to live somewhere else where, predictably, she did need care and spent all her capital. 


Wordle: I was the first to log in this morning, with an embarrassing six. I felt better when Ketki and Theo did equally badly. Sixes are rare around here. Thomas got five. All the others scored four. I guess it was a tough word.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

 Absolutely filthy weather. Our downstairs neighbour so far has had no more water in (and is being perfectly pleasant about what came in the other day, unlike the neighbour beneath the Downstairs Lavatory).  

  The accent yarns I ordered from Shetland the other day, arrived today. A pleasant surprise. Knitting has progressed, but it’s a long way round. The new yarn was a spur. I got some counting and marker-placing done, too. Tomorrow I must measure and plan. I think I might as well aim for something like the Norah Gaughan sweater — a cardigan with dropped shoulders and a deep v-neck. 

   Wafa had never heard of Shetland.

   I’ve finished the new Richard Osman book, and thot it inferior to its predecessors. He seems perfectly satisfied and promises more. One small thing: it is set (they all are) in a very upmarket retirement community. In this one, one of the minor characters is increasingly demented and is contemplating removal from the community into a care home.

   I think that is the big difference between here and the US. I think the community my mother was in in NJ, and the one where my sister and her husband now live in DC, offer nursing care when and if needed in exchange for the down payment on entry. A system with obvious advantages for the patient. 

   Wordle: We were evenly divided between threes and fours today, four candidates each. I was one of the threes, I am pleased to report, along with Thomas, Ketki, and Mark. 

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

 It’s been a stormy day, calming down now. Various problems, of which perhaps the most serious is a leak in the flat downstairs not previously affected. It coincided with a period of violent storm and doesn’t seem to lie under any of our plumbing, but there are odd features which will have to be investigated. And it’s a complication we could certainly do without.

Knitting went forward peacefully. I didn’t get much done, however. The difficulty about the EPS is that I have somewhere and somehow mislaid four consecutive issues of Knitters— in which Meg knits a sweater with us while explaining and perhaps in some details modifying the system. One of the issues has EZ on the cover. It was just after her death.

The Schoolhouse Press has a EPS publication. I’ve ordered it, in the hopes that it will contain all I need. Meanwhile there’s lots on the internet, and of course I’ve got the books in which the EPS originally appeared.  Obviously I can’t get away without thinking. I’ll take careful notes of my thought processes. 

I must show you a picture of this knitting soon. 

Wordle: my starters gave me three greens and two browns — a complete anagram, and easy at that. So, three for me and also Mark, Rachel and Roger. Four for Theo, Ketki, and Thomas. Alexander was today’s outlier with five.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023


Not too bad a day. Helen came, after driving David to the airport. He’ll be back fairly soon.


I decided that the thing to do was to resume the “EPS in random Shetland stripes” which has been in my UFO list over there for a long, long time. The first job was finding it. Wafa has rearranged the sitting room, and pulled the television forward a bit, so it proved easy to get me to the stash cupboard. Not so easy to find what I was looking for. In my day, the sitting room was festooned with project bags. Wafa has gathered them up and filled them with stray balls of yarn where there was room to spare. We found the striped EPS in fairly good order, but I am not at all sure of the balls of yarn with it.


Basically, however, the yarn is from Uradale Farm on Shetland. None of the balls had retained its band, but mercifully memory supplied the name. A visit to Uradale was part of the Shetland trip I did – one of Misa Hay’s tours. I seem to have a range of yellows, browns and greens. The accents are missing, although present in the partly-knit tube. I ordered more today, and resumed knitting.


The random stripes are three rounds each. I think perhaps I embarked on this after knitting the Dathan haps. For those, the rows are either two or four or six rows each, so you have to choose a size as well as a random colour for each stripe. I found it agonizing, and I am pretty sure that that’s why I have settled for three-round stripes here. Now I hope I can find the four precious copies of Knitter’s magazine in which Meg deconstructs the EPS.

Wordle: It looked for quite a while today as if this might, at last, be my dream-day in which we all score the same: Thomas, Alexander, Ketki, Rachel, Theo and I all scored four. Roger, alas, spoiled it with a five, and Mark hasn’t been heard from. My starters provided me with a brown vowel each. It was very hard – as always, in similar situations – to think of any qualifying word, because the starters have eliminated so many good consonants.  When I got one, line three, it gave me three greens in positions two, three and four. It wasn’t too difficult to get from there to the answer.

Monday, October 30, 2023


Blogger has suddenly stopped delivering new comments to my email outbox. Now that I know, I can at least read them on the blog.


Thank you for your help with my pursuit of Norah Gaughan’s striped cardigan. It’s not her Olivia Bell pattern I’m after. I don’t care for that one. Tricky shape, un-alluring stripes. I want the one Norah herself is wearing, both on her Ravelry page and on a page somewhere in the Brooklyn Tweed website, as she proudly introduces Norah Bell. And I think, from your comment yesterday, Annie, that I’m not going to find it. I think the only thing to do would be to devise a cardigan for myself (presumably one could put together pieces from the big Vogue Knitting Book) and stripe it. But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to think.

 No knitting. I had a bath (hard work). Helen came, and also a woman from the agency Wafa works for, to see how we’re getting on.

 I’ve started reading the new Richard Osman book. I’m having a bit of trouble keeping the characters straight.

 Here is a picture of Paradox having a nap in her new home:

I think you would agree that that is a picture of a happy cat.


Wordle: My second starter gave me three greens together in the middle of the word. My heart lept up. But line three, although it added a fourth green at the end of the word, was wrong. And so was line four. So I crept home with a five. Alexander and Ketki joined me at that undistinguished level. The fours were Rachel and Thomas. Roger, Theo, and Mark were today’s stars with three.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

 The longest of days, literally. I’m exhausted and have retreated to writing with the iPad. No knitting, either. The picture of that happy, relocated cat will have to wait a day.

 One of you has suggested writing to Brooklyn Tweed about that picture of Norah Gaughan in a covetable striped cardigan. I’ll do that this evening. I am desperate for something at least semi-mindless.

  Helen and David came to lunch.  Both were in good form. Wafa did us proud. 

  We baked the sourdough we were working on all day yesterday. Very successful.

  Wordle: I surprised myself with a three. I keep a record of each day’s word and its score. Like many Wordlers, I find I can’t remember the day’s answer ten minutes later. Today, the iPad spelling checker disapproved of it. Mark, Ketki and Roger shared my score. Roger added a note to say that WordleBot regarded his success as mostly skill, not luck. Alexander, Thomas and Rachel were the fours. Poor Theo needed five.

Saturday, October 28, 2023


It’s a bit brighter out there. Wafa and I have been making another batch of sourdough, for baking tomorrow. She rightly points out that we can’t go on like this. It’s not hard, nor particularly demanding, but you do have to bear it in mind and stick around and apply some action or other to it from time to time. We could bake a larger batch next time, and freeze some of it.


I had a pleasant zoom meeting with my sister this morning. We didn’t manage to solve the problems of the world – the clouds continue to darken. I have been thinking of buying a new laptop computer. She says that they were better-built ten years ago. The only fault with my present one is that it takes forever to load.


I have also been thinking quite a lot about Norah Gaughan’s striped cardigan. The website was behaving better this morning, and I think I have established that it is not a Gaughan pattern in the Brooklyn Tweed  repertoire. She probably regards it as too easy to write down. And I could probably reconstruct it, if I made the effort. But I don’t want effort, I want ease, this time of year.

Here's the promised great-grandchild, Lizzie and Dan's son Lennie, with his father, shortly after birth:

And here he is with his shawl:

Wordle: Ketki and Alexander and I got four. Three for Thomas and his Aunt Rachel and Mark  A brilliant two for Theo. And although I saw Roger this morning, during the Zoom session with my sister, I don’t seem to have persuaded him to do Wordle early in the day. 

Friday, October 27, 2023


Perhaps a slightly more purposeful day. Let’s see if I can show you a picture:


The sourdough was a success. And since Wafa actually eats bread (unlike me) we can go on refining our technique. And since posting the picture was a success, too, I can go on to show you the new great-grandson tomorrow, and Paradox in retirement.

 More wet, grey weather. Since I can’t get out anyway, it doesn’t much matter, but sunshine is cheerful. 

 No knitting, but much thinking. I have been mentally exploring stripes. They are immensely cheering in the grey months. A Dathan pullover  ( Kate Davies)? Unfortunately I once saw someone wearing one at a yarn festival somewhere, and it wouldn’t stay on her shoulder. There’s a good random-striped scarf on Ravelry called Stripes Please. And just now I had a message from Brooklyn Tweed – I always click on them. Most frustrating. The message was about Norah Gaughan, an absolute fave. There was a picture of (presumably) her wearing a striped cardigan which was exactly what I had been groping towards all day. Unfortunately there was something wrong with the website, and when I approached Brooklyn Tweed the normal way, there was no sign of Norah or the cardigan. Can anyone help?

Wordle:I got four — better than yesterday’s failure, anyway. Mark and Ketki joined me there. Roger and Theo outshone all others with threes. Alexander, Thomas and Rachel all needed five.