Thursday, August 31, 2023

Another bright, warm day. Again I didn’t get out.

No visitors today, but emails to assure me that they are all burrowing away at my problems. 

To which my only contribution has been to order Kate Davies’ “Argyle” kit, in colour way Daunder. As soon as I’ve got the pattern, I’ll order needles from somebody. That’s simpler than telling someone how to find the right size and bring them from Drummond Place. I’m less than half way along, attaching edging to the final side of the baby shawl. But not much less. The finish line is in sight. I will leave the actual finishing until I get home, and the blocking of course. I’m likely to miss the baby. 

I’ve been reading Annemor Sundbo’s “Norway’s Knitted Heritage”. It is a big, heavy book, of considerable interest. She used to run a shoddy factory — one of the many words I learned from Gilbert and Sullivan — and got interested in the hundreds of sweaters people brought in. The parallels with British knitting are very interesting. Colour knitting is almost entirely different — they’ve got lice, we’ve got Fair Isle and Shetland. But the single-colour fisherman’s sweaters are very similar. 

She illustrates a childhood-of-Jesus picture from the first half of the 14th. Entury, much earlier than the ones I had previously known. Our Lady is knitting from a circular spindle arrangement which gives her access to no fewer than 12 spools of yarn. 

I’ve also got Kate Davies’ new book, about Davaar, which is a tidal island not far from Campbeltown. A map locating it in Scotland would be useful. I had to look it up.

Further reports likely on both texts.

Wordle: Again, we were all over the place. Mine was the only four. The Mileses all got three,and so did Theo. But Rachel and Roger scored six, and even Mark needed five. 


 Annemor Sundbo Norway’s Knitted Heritage Davaar

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

 Today’s news is that I’ve got a major gas leak at Drummond Place. So I can’t go back there until that problem, at least, is solved, involving  the taking up of floorboards and indeed flagstones. Tradesmen aren’t keen to take it on. Ketki is working on it, and problems that Ketki is working on tend to get solved.

  Poor Helen is ground down. She is going south on Sunday or some such day to visit David’s mother (and hand Paradox over to her new people). Ketki and Alexander are taking over my multiple problems for a week. I think they have power of attorney too. And I’m staying here, embalmed in expensive comfort.

  Wordle: this four-vowel thing is something of a puzzle. 

  I did it in three today, and hoped, until Theo joined me, that I would be the only one. Ketki, Thomas, Roger, and Rachel scored four. Alexander and his great pal Mark needed five. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

 I sat out in the sun for a while today. Very nice.

  Otherwise little to report. I got to a physiotherapy class. I’m the feeblest of all.  We threw a ball around and stretched elastic bands. I got there on foot, which was a  mistake. The dining room is the limit of my range these days, and that only if I can break the journey. I’ve been peacefully in bed all afternoon.

  It isn’t often that national news impinges here, but we’ve been right in the thick of the air traffic control problems. We are directly under the flight path into Edinburgh airport. (I had the great pleasure of hearing it referred to as an “aerodrome” yesterday.) Yesterday it was virtually silent. Today they have been hurrying to catch up.

  Poor Helen now has a gas leak to deal with in Drummond Place, as well as Mr. Downstairs and his damp.

  Wordle: you are all more than welcome to my starters, TRAIN and HOUSE. That gives you all five vowels — but don’t forget Y when things get tough — and the first five consonants in the English letter-frequency alphabet (almost the last survival of my Oberlin education). 

  They didn’t serve me very well today. I scored five. The Loch Fyne Mileses dazzled us all with twos for each of them, Alexander, Ketki, and Thomas. Three different starters, too. An astonishing performance. Theo and Mark got three. Rachel and Roger had five, like me.

Monday, August 28, 2023

 No, getting out is still too much for me, but I continue to walk to meals. 

  Helen came this morning, along with a young man who stayed in my house on Drummond Place for a few nights while his play was on at the Festival. He wrote, directed, produced and acted in it. Helen said it was/is good but it hasn’t had any reviews. 

  Helen and I didn’t get any business done, and we must before she sets off to England at the end of the week.

  Her son Fergus was meant to come and see me half an hour ago, with his girlfriend. I must set forth on my pilgrimage to supper any minute now. They will have to trail along behind. I can’t give up my little walk.

  Knitting continues, I’m now three and a half scallops into the final side (of 21 scallops). 

  Wordle: disaster this morning.I did it, as usual, first thing after checking emails, half-asleep, and obviously thinking about clothes. I typed in TOAST instead of TRAIN. Nothing for it but to start again with my starter word, a line having been wasted. I scored four but I feel it was reeeeely three.

  The others were spread about. A brilliant two for Theo. Three for Alexander, Ketki, and Roger. Four for me and Rachel. Five for Thomas and Mark. 


Sunday, August 27, 2023

 Another nice day. I really must work some “out” into my self-improvement programme.

  I”ve been watching the latest Fruity Knitting, while knitting myself. Why don’t I enjoy it the way I used to? Is it just that it’s so familiar now? Or — the theory I favour — did something irreplaceable go when Andrew died?

  My own knitting has turned the final corner, attaching edging to my shawl. It really looks rather well when I shake it out.  In sunlight, the colours even look rather well. (It’s a Malabrigo yarn called Primavera, of an overall dullish brown.) 

  But of course the months that loom are the ones that don’t go in for sunshine very much. The baby is due in “late September.” The shawl should be more or less ready for him. (We know we’re getting a “him”.) I’m scheduled to leave Cramond on the 13th, I think. I’ll finish and block it at home — a process far too complicated to attempt here.

  C. came to see me this morning. She was scheduled to go to a barbecue this afternoon, taking a bowl of tabbouleh as her contribution. I don’t think I’ve ever made it. It sounds very good, and very simple. I’ll put it on my list. Somehow the more crippled I am by the infirmities of old age, the more enthusiastic I get  about the prospect of cooking, although I can scarcely move around a kitchen (or anywhere else).

  Jamie Oliver is about to publish a new book — Five Mediterranean Ingredients, or words to that effect. I have a lot of his books, but feel that his inspiration is beginning to run thin.

Wordle: it looked for a while this morning as if I was to be the one to spoil the show. I scored five. Everybody else had three. Thank goodness: Theo logged in with a five just before noon. What time is that in DC?

My starters gave me two green vowels. My guess for line three — a perfectly qualified word — achieved nothing except to eliminate three more consonants. Line four did better— one of the newly-proposed letters was brown.


Saturday, August 26, 2023

 A nice-appearing day, but I didn’t get out. My walking plan — see yesterday — continued to,work. No more wheelchair for the time being.

  And the shawl continues to advance. I now know the pattern well, and can knit a whole scallop, out and back, without losing the thread. After that my thots begin to drift.

   Thank you for your comments about random-knit sweaters. Helen (anon) I do recall (prompted by you) Kaffe’s instructions for random knitting. Glorious Knitting? Anyway, I’ll find it. Jenny, where are the sweaters you like better than the Toast one? I’d like to take a look. And I haven’t heard of Laerke Bagger and will rectify that situation right away.

  Wordle: today it was Rachel, with a four, who spoiled an otherwise perfect set of threes. Theo is included, but silence from  Roger so far. My starters, much like yesterday, gave me a green and three browns. Nothing to do but wrestle with the anagram.


Friday, August 25, 2023

 And today I learned that the secret of getting to and from the dining room under my own steam is to do it alone. If a carer supervises (out of nothing but kindness) I can’t keep up with her and therefore ask for the wheelchair. On my own, I stop at one or even both of the resting places and puff for five minutes before going on.

  And I realised, while resting at the second stopping place just outside the television lounge just now, that one of the merits  of this place is a fair degree of sound-proofing. At home, in my room, with the door shut, I can’t hear anybody’s television. 

 Otherwise there is nothing to report. Nobody came to see me except a doctor. I’m fine. I realised after she left that what is wrong with me now is not so much internal organs of one sort or another, but my skeleton.  The hip is the worst, but it’s not all.

  I keep meaning to tell you that Toast is selling, for a steep price, a sleeveless ladies’ pullover made of scraps of leftover yarn. It specifically mentions that the ends are woven in. Still, we could do that.

  Wordle: it looked for a good while as if all we cisAtlantic Wordlers would score three today. But then, quite late in the afternoon, Alexander registered five. That was also Theo’s score. Roger had a four.


Thursday, August 24, 2023

 And another day. I have suddenly grasped that I have only another fortnight here at Cramond. The Downstairs Lavatory won’t be ready, but with luck Paradox will be in her new home. Oh dear oh dear.

   Not much knitting. I am grateful for your comments and reflections on Auchnaha and currently think I’ll switch to Herne. But with so little time left, maybe the edging will come out more or less even and I can go back to finishing Fergus’ Calcutta Cup sweater. Which I think he has outgrown before it was knit. 

  I had my hair done this morning and it looks nice.

   Wordle: A funny one today. Six for Rachel. Five for Theo, me and Thomas. Four for Ketki. Three for Alexander. Silence so far from Roger and Mark.

   It started, for me, much like yesterday: a green vowel and a brown consonant from the starters. But today my struggle was unsuccessful. I resorted to Jean-words for lines three and four. In both cases, I used a letter which had already been disqualified. But, as often before, those Jean-words moved things forward and made my score of five possible.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

 Another day. C. came this morning. I went to a Residents’ Council Meeting which few attended and at which little happened. I must figure out how to get to the hairdresser tomorrow — how to get him to expect me, I mean.  Helen has struggled valiantly on with the Downstairs Lavatory.

  And I’ve  done some knitting. I share your aversion, Mary Lou, to garments that have to be kept on the shoulders with constant twitching and heaving. I thought I would get a shawl pin, an object I have never owned. Would that help? We”re talking about Kate Davies’ Auchnaha cardigan. And while we’re here, I might mention that KD’s fondness for names from the vernacular means constant checking-back; which is something of a nuisance. But Mary Lou was right — there’s a U in Auchnaha.

  Wordle: A miracle this morning. I put in my two invariable starters — TRAIN and HOUSE. They yielded one green vowel and one brown consonant. The next job is to think of  ANY fully-qualifying English word for line three: greens in their place, browns in some other place, no greens or browns omitted, no other letters employed which have already been eliminated. (My starters involve five of the first seven consonants in the letter-frequency alphabet — D and L are the two that haven’t been covered.) 

  It was tough today to think of anything. I finally came up with a word and typed it happily in, with no expectation at all of being right. But I was! Theo failed, ending a streak of 133. Fives for Rachel and Alexander.  Fours for Mark and Ketki. Thomas joined me with a miraculous three — and he had only two browns to go on.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

 I went to a physiotherapy class  this morning which was excellent, but pretty well flattened me. I’ve been pushed to and fro most meals.

  Edinburgh’s leading plumber has abandoned us, first of all because. their man was shouted at by Mrs Downstairs, but also — when Helen rang up to be ingratiating — because the whole thing is too complicated for them.

What on earth are we to do?

  Knitting has moved forward. I was glad to have your approval on my choice for the future.  “Achnaha” is written for Ooskit, a natural-coloured yarn which comes in three shades: pale grey, grey, and darker grey. However, it measures 240 yards per 100 grams and Schiehallion is 120 yards per 50 grams so I assume they  are interchangeable although I will check that with the shop when ordering.

  One of the few memorable lessons life has taught me is that it is wise to knit with bright colours during the gloomy months upon which we are about to enter, when light declines to virtually nothing. Schiehallion offers a couple of excellent possibilities.

Wordle: I disgraced myself with a six this morning.  Ketki, Mark, Alexander,Thomas and Theo all coasted home with three. Rachel needed four. At least all my entries were real words, possible entries, no Jean-words.


Monday, August 21, 2023

 Self-powered for both meals both ways today. The physiotherapist came in the morning and we made a start on stairs. That was less encouraging. She is large and strong and Scandinavian and lifted me past the really difficult part of each step. I’ll have to do better than that.

  Knitting has progressed well. I can see the marker for the third corner dimly on the horizon. 

  That may mean ordering my next knit sooner rather than later, as they say. I like Kate Davies’ Flink. She likes doing yoke sweaters, I like knitting them. But I think a cardigan might be more useful, especially while there is any chance that Cramond is my ultimate fate. So I will probably go for Achnaha, but in a more cheerful colour.

  I’ve been industriously reading Olsson’s “Fair Isle Knitting”. It’s good, on the one hand. I don’t think there’s anything new there for me, on the other. She talks a lot about choosing colours— but Ella Gordon does the same thing on the Jamieson and Smith website, choosing five colours from their range to go with various photographs of Shetland scenery. For free. 

  Much worrying about cats.

  Wordle: I was today’s dunce, with the only five. Mark was the star, with two. I feel that has happened before. Alexander and Roger were the threes. Four (obviously) elsewhere. I got stuck with ????, grn, grn, grn, grn and it took me three guesses. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

 I  continue to strengthen a bit. I got to lunch again self-powered and mean to attempt it again soon for supper. I sat in the library again for a while — it furnishes a convenient break between my room and the dining room. There was no company this time, but a kind soul who had observed my struggle after lunch came in to advise me to choose a chair with arms. I shall certainly do so this time. 

  Knitting continues well. I am now halfway across the third side of the shawl, attaching edging. And I have chosen a KD pattern to embark on if I should find myself in the awkward position of having nothing to knit while I am still here at Cramond. There’s plenty at home, beginning with Fergus’ Calcutta Cup sweater (half-finished) — but that would be too complicated to ask Helen to find and bring.

  She and Daniella (!) came to see me this morning, Daniella newly-returned from her summer in Romania looking very fit and glamorous. She can’t come back to work for me because she has her family to think of and I really need someone in the house at night. She will not have any trouble finding work but we are looking for someone who would want her every day, as I did.

   We are similarly worrying about Paradox. She has an offer of a brilliant place a long way away. I would prefer to lodge her near here so that I could occasionally visit her but there seems to be no hope. And I am frightened — the word is not too strong — that if we saw each other she would show, as Perdita did on my birthday, that she remembers and loves me, and I couldn’t bear it.

   Wordle: Four for me today. Threes for Theo, Ketki and Rachel, fours and a five elsewhere. Four of us, including me, had four greens with the first spot wrong on the line before the final line.


Saturday, August 19, 2023

 The potato event was cancelled after all. I felt well, and walked to lunch instead of being pushed. For a while after the  meal I sat in the library with what I felt sure were congenial souls — but some couldn’t hear very well, and others were short of  marbles, and conversation didn’t get very far. When I was here last year (see late May ‘22) everybody who needed them had expensive hearing aids.

  Knitting went well. I’ve done 5 of the 21 scallops on the third side of the shawl.

   C. and her friend Ian came to see me. He is moving into a new house and it’s hard work. 

  Wordle: It’s a true stinker today. Rachel failed, and I needed six. Fives for Theo, Thomas, and Ketki. Four for Alexander and Mark  No news from Roger yet — he often does it late in the American day.

, . 

Friday, August 18, 2023

 I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday. There was nothing wrong — I just sort of drifted away. I’ve done a bit better today. Helen came to see me, freshly back from what sounds like a very happy week in Greece. We got caught up on the Downstairs Lavatory and the Kirkmichael driveway and various other problems. Later on I went to my first Cramond event, apart from physiotherapy. We have a considerable program on offer every day.

   Today we were constructing fajitas. We had a little tale about them — they are of fairly recent invention. And then a practical lesson.

  Tomorrow is National Potato Day, according to the program. I think I know all I want to know about potatoes.

  Knitting moves forward too. I’ve turned the second corner, attaching edging to that shawl. Indeed. I began to worry about what would happen if I finished it before it was time to leave here (about another month). Not a serious problem.

   Wordle: The base score was four, including me. No one exceeded it. Ketki and Mark had brilliant twos, Rachel and Theo scored three. That makes it sound easier than I found it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

 Another good day. I must apply myself to becoming more strenuous. At least, today, I had a preliminary conversation with the physiotherapist about practising stair-climbing. And received yet another letter from the Royal Infirmary about a pre-hip-replacement appointment. The previous two having been postponed because I was ill, but they have resolutely not sent me down to the end of the list.

  C.’s daughter Christina came to see me today, with her husband Manaba and son Hamish. We played/sat, as appropriate, on the (artificial) grass in the garden.

  Knitting goes forward. I just counted the stitches — four more scallops until the second corner, and the number — to my considerable surprise— comes out even. (I am attaching edging to a large shawl.) I may      beat the baby after all, if I keep at it.

   I’ve been sorry to hear that Franklin is ill. It must be tough, away from his native land and required to support himself by native genius, as always. 

   I have nothing more to tell you about the Scandinavian view of Fair Isle knitting, but I haven’t forgotten my promise to do so.

Wordle : I disgraced myself today with the only five. Four was the base score. Theo and Mark got three.


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

 A good day. I continue to feel well. I think about my cats. Helen thinks it would be a good idea to re-house Paradox and re-install Perdita in Drummond Place. Maybe. 

  Oh dear; I’ve lost my draft. I’ll try to re-write some of it.

  Knitting progresses slowly. I am within sight of the second corner, attaching edging to the shawl, and might reach it this week. There are flaws in the fagotting — not many, not serious, but some. It is a stitch i love and would repair to perfection if I could.

  Wordle: Four was the base score today, including mine. Thomas and Theo scored three, Rachel and Alexander five. That doesn’t leave many to compose the base, especially as Roger hasn’t been heard from.

Monday, August 14, 2023

 It was a super birthday, not least because I’m feeling much better. We all convened at Helen’s house, where access is easier than at Drummond Place— Rachel and Ed, Alexander and Ketki, James and Cathy, and a healthy representation of the succeeding generation. Helen and David joined us by Zoom from their luxurious Greek hotel.

But best was my dear cat. I called “kittykittykitty” as soon as I crossed the threshold. Archie said “She won’t come. I’ll fetch her in a minute.” Another couple of steps brought me to the foot of the stairs and there she was, coming down, tail at the perpendicular. We spent some QualityTime together until the rest of the party assembled.

She wasn’t seen again until the party was breaking up. Then she reappeared, un-called, and did some ankle-twining. Dear cat.

Now everybody is on their way home.

And I must take myself in hand and try to regain some strength. Especially strength enough to get down six steps with a handrail — it won’t be safe for Wafa and me to stay at Drummond Place if I can’t get out in an emergency.I’m booked here at Cramond for another month. It’s hard not to sink into the care and comfort.

Knitting has advanced somewhat. I’m very slightly more than halfway across the second side, attaching edging to the border. 

Wordle: I dream of the day when we all score the same. Yesterday and today came as close as dammit. We all scored four today except Rachel, who needed five. Yesterday it looked as if the birthday scores were all going to be three. What a glorious birthday that would have been! But Mark spoiled it with a glorious two of his own.


Saturday, August 12, 2023

 Thank you for your messages. Yes, tomorrow is my 90th birthday. Rachel and Ed and James and Cathy are here, Alexander and Ketki coming this evening (I think) or tomorrow. We will have a birthday lunch, with simple food I hope, at Helen’s house and Perdita will be there. And Archie. Helen herself, and David, will be — indeed, are — in Greece where they will be marking his 60th birthday on the same day.

   I’m feeling pretty well. One of the Hospital-from-Home doctors warned me that I might have taken a permanent step further down the slope. We are now aiming at another month or so here at Cramond cocooned in aimless luxury. I am going to work seriously with the physiotherapist on getting up and down six steps. That’s what we have outside the house so that’s what I have to be able to do in an emergency. There are devices such as wheelchair lifts but they are ugly and I would like to avoid. Then Paradox will come home to me and Perdita will stay with Helen where she is so happy. Wafa — who is to be my long-term carer — is not pleased with that arrangement because she prefers Perdita. Everybody prefers Perdita.

   No knitting I’m afraid.

   But Rachel, who is staying at DP, has brought me “Fair Isle Knitting” by Carina Olsson, originally published in Swedish and now in English. (in the US), and delivered to me by Amazon as the result of a pre-order. It looks rather promising and I hope to report further. 

Wordle: I had an agonising four today. I forgot one of my own few principles or it might have been much quicker. Theo, Thomas and Ketki also had fours. Everybody else got there in three. 


Thursday, August 10, 2023

 Things have gone pretty well today, as hoped. I’ve even done some knitting. I’ve lost nearly a week of that with this latest set-back. The hope of having the shawl ready for the birth is more or less gone.

  Trawling Google for my drugs — as everyone must do, these days — I find that the heart one, digoxin, can depress digestion. I ate pretty well today. 

  Helen is safely in Greece, where she is delighted to encounter rain. Everybody else is converging on Edinburgh. I will see most of them tomorrow

  Wordle: Theo and I scored undistinguished fives. Thomas and his parents Alexander and Ketki all got three, as did their aunt and sister Rachel. Silence elsewhere. That is an interesting thought, Mary Lou, that we can blame deficiencies in AI for Wordlebot’s lapses. It did all right by me today, but there was a potential lapse (or contradiction) which I avoided by guessing right for line five.

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

 There I was in pretty good shape on Friday. Then I went backwards. More Hospital-from-Home. Nothing much wrong. I hope to feel much better tomorrow when not-taking-doxycycline will make itself felt. Meanwhile I am somewhat livelier this evening.

  Helen was here this morning, fresh from a meeting with a plumber at Drummond Place. Our Downstairs Lavatory is directly below a similar room in the flat above. We had assumed that the same arrangement prevailed below. But no: Another one, from a different apartment, comes in from the side somehow. Helen is (justifiably) apoplectic with rage that Mr. Downstairs, who has been giving her a very hard time, never mentioned this fact. And we are exonerated, at least somewhat.

  She is going to Thessaloniki tomorrow to celebrate David’s 60th birthday with him. They are going to a Very Fancy Hotel for three nights. She is tremendously looking forward to idleness. I think she may find even that much of it to be more than she wants.

  No knitting. The shawl is exactly where it was when I wrote to you last, on Friday.

  Wordle: Five for me today, also Roger and Theo. Ketki needed six. Everybody else did better.

  I failed yesterday. The answer was BULLY. I had ?..,U,L,L,Y and guessed wrong four times. And Wordbot got it wrong again: it didn’t seem to accept my entry of PULLY although Wordle accepted it happily enough.Research suggests that the spelling PULLEY is considerably commoner. Well, if Wordle doesn’t like PULLY it shouldn’t accept it.

Friday, August 04, 2023

 Six scallops done (out,of 21) along the second side of the shawl. Now that the first side is finished and released into the world, I can see how huge the finished object is going to be. Too late to make an adjustment now. 

I continue to improve, I think. I got to and from both meals under my own steam today.

Helen was goaded into hiring an emergency plumber. It turns out that some if not all of the moisture downstairs is not our fault. We’ll probably have to pay a hefty share towards putting it right anyway, because that’s the way tenements work. The Downstairs ceiling looks as if it’s about to fall. Maybe the best approach would be to take it down. 

Wordle: Thomas, Rachel, Alexander and Mark all scored two. I’ve never seen the like. My score was a thoroughly undistinguished four. Roger saved me from total embarrassment with a five.

I was interested in your messages yesterday, about how my experience with WordBot wasn’t unique. It isn’t even embarrassed when it claims on line three that only one possible answer remains and you then type in another possible answer.

Thursday, August 03, 2023

 I think I’m better, but what was wrong? At any rate, I did some knitting today, and went in to the dining room for supper tonight

Thursday: I wrote that much last night, and was then overwhelmed by a go-to-bed-right-now tiredness. Slept well, feel a bit peppier this morning. We shall see.

Knitting is going well. That’s a good sign. I’ve finished attaching edging to the first side of the shawl and have begun the long, long crawl along the second side. I have, of course, suddenly been deprived of the comforting thought that I’ve got “all of August.” August is slipping away at an alarming rate. The baby  isn’t due until the second half of September. And I’m going to have to figure out how to block the shawl. 

Helen has been here this morning. She has been having a terrible time with the Downstairs Lavatory. The downstairs neighbour is undoubtedly suffering. It is not yet absolutely clear that it’s our fault. All water has been turned off in our Downstairs Lavatory for weeks, but Victorian tenements are tricky. Where, exactly, is the leak? And what is feeding it?

Helen brought Mungo for a visit on Tuesday. He had heard that Cramond was Edinburgh’s grandest care home, and was expecting Gothic splendour. It’s not like that. It’s a new build, lacking in architectural distinction but full of useful features. 

Wordle: an easy three for me today.

WordleBot disgraced itself the other day. I had various brown letters and typed in STELE for line three. Wrong, but lots of greens so I got the right answer, STYLE, in line four. WordleBot, consulted subsequently, said after line two that there was only one possibility. They admitted after line three that STELE was a perfectly valid English word and made a feeble excuse. Alas, however, I can’t recover the text to show you.