Saturday, September 30, 2023

 I’m very droopy, as you predict, Mary Lou, much nap. But all is going well. Perdita remains jumpy and anxious. I wonder if she will eventually come back to my bed? We were inseparable from kittenhood until Paradox displaced her. Now she sleeps Wafa, who feeds her. She is trying to slim her down a bit. Perdita doesn’t like that. 

Wafa takes grand care of me, better perhaps than Cramond at bullying me into doing exercises. Certainly better at seasoning our food.

No knitting. Some attention to duty, but not much.

Wordle: I failed! Winning streak cut short in the early fifties.

Yesterday’s word was AZURE. My preceding word had been ALURE. That’s the one that provoked WordleBot into hinting that it wasn’t a word. Is there a different way to spell it?

Today I started with one brown tile from my two starters, and things never got much better. There were poor scores all round. Alexander and Thomas both needed six. Five for Roger. Then things get better. Four for Ketki, Mark, and Theo. A brilliant three for Rachel.

Friday, September 29, 2023

 Here I am, home. Wafa has made wonderful food, which I cannot do justice to. We have enough to eat for a week at least. Perdita is uneasy, probably worrying about That Other Cat. She looks very well.

   The actual homecoming went smoothly. A Cramond carer had done the packing. Alexander and Ketki came in the early afternoon. They were followed by a get-you-up-the-stairs firm, who brought us here. And managed that bit comfortably. And here we are.

   I haven’t done anything yet. I will see to it all in the morning. Famous Last Words.

   Wordle: Four for me. My two starters produced two green vowels, one brown one, and a brown consonant. An anagram, in fact, which I don’t like. My line three turned all of them green, but I guessed wrong for the fifth letter. Wordle told me after line two that there was only one more possibility. After my line three, it said “There was only one possible solution left, and this wasn’t it.” I’ll try to remember tomorrow to tell you  what my line three was. It wasn’t obscene or politically dubious., as far as I can see. It was the second letter I was missing. 

   Others had trouble too. Ketki and Theo  scored six, Alexander five, four for Thomas and Roger, a sensational two for Rachel. Silence so far from Mark.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

 Again, I seem to have omitted to post yesterday’s little essay. No wonder nobody commented on it.

   The weather continues gloomy and equinoctial, I got a lot done towards tomorrow’s home-going. It’s all rather exciting. Wafa and Perdita are already there. Much packing was done here. 

   I’ve heard from C. in Palermo. It sounds as if she is having a grand time. She is about to spend a day Cooking with the Duchess, as Archie and I did. Tomasi di Lampedusa’s adopted son, the Duke of Palma, is her husband. He was the model for Tancred in the book, appearance and mannerism-wise. The actual duke is a distinguished musicologist which there is no evidence of Tancred’s being.

   I’ve finished the 54-row pattern chart for Kate Davies’ Argyle vest, and embarked on the bit where you repeat the last 36 rows of it until you reach armhole-level (which won’t, in fact, be all that much further away).

   Wordle: I got yet another three, along with Thomas and Theo. Four for Roger and Mark. Five for Alrxander and Ketki. Rachel was today’s superstar with a two. 

 Weather gloomy, wet and dark. Worse in Greece, where Helen (and her pupils) sound as if they may be marooned on Mount Pelion when the mosaic course finishes.

   If all goes well, Wafa and Perdita will move into Drummond Place tomorrow. Paradox’ new owner has sent me a delicious picture of her, in the posture of a cat who completely trusts her housemates, flat  on her back, furry tummy available for scratching.

   I had a shower this morning and am ready for the new adventure, as far as cleanliness can take me. I also put in a grocery order, to be delivered on Friday, as I re-assume the responsibilities of life.

   And I’ve finished round 53 of the Argyll vest, and wound and attached a new ball of yarn, the fourth I think. It’s looking good.

   Comment yesterday: I don’t think kimchi-making would quite  do as an activity here. Too high a proportion of us are slightly demented or hard of hearing or both. It’s not like the retirement community where my mother used to live, Meadow Lakes, near Princeton. Nor like the English one Richard Osman imagines for his thrillers.

   Wordle: another three! This time the starters gave me one green vowel and two brown tile#, a vowel and a consonant. I struggled as before to think of anything, and, as before, when I succeeded, it was right. Again WordleBot was rude: there were 11 words to choose from, it said. I was lucky. I still can’t think of any others. It certainly pays off to hold out for a real entry, rather than a Jean-word, for line three.

    Rachel, Alexander and Theo were the other threes. Thomas and Ketki needed four, Mark five. Roger scored a brilliant two.



Tuesday, September 26, 2023

 Another day. Wet and blustery here.

   My home-going draws near. I’m worried about it. If I have to come back here, what will I bring? Perdita will be all right with Helen. I’ve already chosen three pictures. But what about books? Which  are the ones I can’t live without knowing they’re available at arm’s length?  And what about cooking? Can I face a future in which I never slice another onion? Wiser not to think ahead. I’m going home to cat and pictures and books and onions on Friday. That’s enuf for now.

   Knitting progresses, and looks better and better. I’ve now reached round 50 of KD’s Argyll vest, and have nearly finished the third skein of yarn. I’m confident that I have enough knitting (and yarn-winding) to last until I get back to Drummond Place. I meant to mention that KD showed us a very attractive coloured version, the other day, of a two-toned cardigan she had published previously. Unpronounceable and instantly forgettable Gaelic name, alas. I would find a cardigan useful if I have to come back here.

Wordle: My starters — as often, I feel — yielded one green and one brown tile, both vowels. It was extraordinarily difficult to think of ANY word for line three. My starters knock out the five commonest consonants, and all vowels except Y. I finally found a word, and it was right, so three for me. WordleBot in the Times was very scornful. There were a dozen or so possibilities. I was lucky, it said.

   Alexander, Mark and Thomas were fellow threes. Rachel and Roger both got stuck on ???, grn, ???, grn, grn. Rachel got out of it with five, Roger went the whole way with six. Ketki was the only four. Theo scored five but approached that score by a different route from the one just mentioned. 


Monday, September 25, 2023

 So, what happened today? Nothing much. The knitting has progressed to round 47 (of Kate Davies’ Argyll vest) and, despite occasional lapses, it’s looking good. I’ll need a few more tools once I reach the underarms — I think the timing will come out about right. I should be home before I need anything more. 

  I saw the physiotherapist today. She agreed with Alexander and Ketki that I will need help getting up the steps when I get home on Friday, and was glad to hear that that had been arranged. We talked about wheelchairs. She thinks I should aim at self-propelled, rather than electric such as everybody has in DC. 

  I think what I need now is a conference with a non-specialist doctor. I am being overwhelmed with lungs and heart and hip.

  Books: a pleasanter topic. Keeping a list of books-read is sort of fun. I was pleased to discover how many of us do it. I have separate pages for each calendar year, and at the bottom add a little list of books I might want to read, picked up from reviews and recommendations, today I started reading “Still Life: Sketches from a Tunbridge Wells Childhood” by Richard Cobb. I’m finding it a bit slow and heavy, but will persevere.

Wordle: yesterday was the day my great-grandson Lennie was born. My starters gave me four browns: H, I, T, R. Surely the answer was BIRTH? But it wasn’t.

Twos, threes and fours today. I had a four. Poor Thomas got stuck on ???, grn, grn, grn, grn and needed five. His father Alexander scored a brilliant two. No news from Roger. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

 C. was here this morning. She will be jetting off to Palermo tomorrow. Helen is already on the slopes of Mt. Pelion. Both will be back soon. Alexander and Ketki will be here for the great transfer — Cramond to Drummond Place— on Friday. And I’ll have Wafa, and my dear cat. I am nevertheless feeling slightly anxious and bereft.

   I have no more news for you of Lenny in London.

   Knitting progresses well. I have embarked on round 44. It’s looking wonderfully sculptural. 

   I have made a practice, for a good few years now, of making a note of the books I finish reading. It is depressing, looking back, to see how many of them I have no memory of at all. Never mind that, for the moment. Today I finished The Favour by Nicci French, and when I went to inscribe it, was horrified to find that I didn’t finish anything in September. I doubt if that has ever happened before. Most recent reading, according to the record, has been re-reading: Jane Austen and Ruth Rendell, primarily.

   Wordle: again I have something to say which I must suppress until tomorrow. We were three-four-five today. Threes for Mark, Thomas, Theo and Ketki.  Fours for me, Roger and Alexander. Poor Rachel needed five, bogged down, no doubt, by the responsibilities of additional grandmotherhood. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

 Today’s news: Lenny Edward William H. I’m sure, if I were only a bit more technologically inventive, I could show you pictures of him, but as it is you will have to wait until I get home next week. It is for him, of course, that that shawl is destined. 

   It was a brisk labour, but even so Lizzie says, never again. 

  And my more recent knitting, Kate Davies’ Argyll vest, has reached the beginning of round 42. I continue to improve, I think, in distinguishing left from right — never easy — and understanding how the pattern works. 

  Not much else to report. Helen has reached Mount Pelion and is busy arranging the materials for her mosaic class. C., bless her, has been to Drummond Place and has ensured that the key to the house is in the key safe. Wafa is arriving the day before I do, and will need it. So will I, indeed. I don’t have any keys with me. 

   I sat out in the garden for a while this morning. No one else was there. It was quiet. But there were no little birds, no sparrows. We are under an Edinburgh Airport flight path. Maybe that explains it. But I felt both saddened and alarmed.

Wordle: it was another easy one, I gather. Thomas, Theo, Alexander and Mark got threes. Four for Ketki, Rachel, and Roger. And I thoroughly un-distinguished myself with a five. No Jean-words, either. All of my entries were serious attempts.

Friday, September 22, 2023

 So, Wednesday I left Wordle out and yesterday it was knitting. I”d better start there. I have reached round 38. It’s looking well. It’s slow work, but since it’s a sleeveless pullover, it’ll be nearly finished (except for some ribbing) when it’s finished.

   A quiet day otherwise. C. came.. She’s busy packing for a holiday in Sicily.

   I had no nap today (own fault) and am suddenly overwhelmed with tired. I’d better go to bed once I’ve told you about Wordle.

   It was another pretty easy one. Thomas, Mark, and Rachel needed four. There were threes for me and Roger and Theo, twos for Alexander and Ketki. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

 I have just discovered that I never published yesterday’s blog entry, quite apart from having forgotten to include Wordle in its excitements. So now it’s up, and here is today’s.

   But nothing much happened today. Helen has gone to Thessaloniki, as a prelude to teaching mosaic-making on the slopes of Mt Pelion. I have realised that my departure for Drummond Place is really getting quite close — next Friday, in fact. Alexander and Ketki are in charge. And I think Wafa will be involved

  Wordle: I seem to be lacking a day in my record of Wordle results. My glorious  two was on Tuesday the 19th, as recorded here. Yesterday I scored three for a forgotten word. Today was another three. My starters gave me one green and four browns — i.e., no more letters to supply, just an anagram to solve. Alexander, Ketki, Mark and Roger were the other threes. Rachel, Thomas and Theo had the fours.

 I went to an “Italian afternoon” yesterday, expecting broken phrases and sips of Chianti. We had the latter, but no Italian conversation, just a famous film from the 50’s — “Three Coins in the Fountain”. It’s unbelievably bad. I think I was vaguely expecting “Roman Holiday”. It must be contemporaneous, but RH may be in black and white. Does that matter, when you’ve got Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and an intelligent script?

   “Three Coins” was vaguely interesting as a sociological document. Offices with no trace of electronics. Smart, attractive women busy with their typewriters, interested only in getting married. The empty streets of Rome populated only by extras, looking awfully extra. 1952? I just looked it up — 1954.  “Roman Holiday” is 1953. Now I’ll have to contrive to see it again. Lots of things aren’t as good as one remembers, although few are as bad as “Three Coins in the Fountain”.

Otherwise there is little to report. Helen came for a last visit before her 10 days in Greece. Knitting moved forward. It’s slow work, especially in the rounds with lots of crosses. I’ve now reached round 28 and am advancing towards a passage which may produce more apparent progress tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

 More dull, wet and gloomy.

Helen came this morning, and went away with a bagful of Things I don’t immediately need. She’ll bring the empty bag back tomorrow, and go to Greece on Thursday. Alexander and Ketki came in the afternoon, full of plans for getting me home. They have no confidence in me to get up the six steps from the pavement (sidewalk) to my front door. I feel sure I can surmount that hazard in a bound.

   It turns out that this problem can be met either by a commercial firm or a charity. Either one meets you at hospital or care home or wherever and takes you home and gets you in. I suspect that they expect something more like a second-floor tenement rather than six steps up from the pavement, but never mind. Neither is available until next Friday, the 29th, so departure from Cramond has been postponed until then. 

   Knitting continues well. I have reached round 23 on the Argyle vest. That’s five rounds further than yesterday. And I continue to make progress with understanding forward and backward twists. 

Wordle: easy-peasy today. Mark was the dullard, with four, Ketki and I the stars with two. Threes elsewhere. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

 Dull, wet and gloomy changed into something quite pleasant-looking when it was too late in the day for any of us oldies to get out and enjoy it. I spent my time knitting when I wasn’t being bathed or otherwise attended to. I’ve reached round 18 of the Argyle vest.

   It’s going briskly and pleasantly except in a couple of spots where I took my mental eyes off it for a moment. You’re right, Mary Lou, that I’m coming to understand the pattern better. The first step forward was when I grasped that left twists and right twists weren’t quite the same as decreases, and that therefore the golden rule didn’t apply: the stitch the needle enters first doesn’t necessarily wind up on top.

   Arrangements continue to move forward towards my return to Drummond Place on Wednesday the 27th.  I don’t know how the others feel: neither Helen nor I is fully convinced that I’m up to it. But if I have to come back here in Forever Mode, it would change the scene drastically. A future with no cat and no cooking. 

   Wordle: it was a bit tougher today. Mark was the star with the only three. Fives for Thomas and Ketki. Fours elsewhere, including me. We h have n’t heard from Roger yet.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

 I’ve had a successful day’s knitting, at any rate. I’m now halfway around Round 11. It’s beginning to get a bit faster, and may even speed up a bit more when I understand the pattern more thoroughly. There are only two techniques, twist 2 right and twist two left. The former is dead easy, the latter not difficult. You’ve still got to keep them separate in your mind, and remember which one you’re supposed to be doing. Later on I hope it will be obvious which travelling stitch is headed where, and therefore obvious how to get it there.

   At the moment, I can’t even listen to a podcast as I knit.

Sundays are quiet, and mine was devoted to knitting, so I have nothing else to report. C. came to see me after Mass.  They have been remaking the garden, at the University chaplaincy where we go, and she says it’s still not possible to get a wheelchair in, so I’m not missing anything.

Wordle: all threes and fours today. I was in the former group, which narrowly predominated.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

 Sun, this evening, after a day of unremitting gloom. Helen and David stopped in to see me, with a friend I didn’t remember but should have, on their way to Glasgow to see the recently-reopened Burrell Collection.

Yesterday”s gas man claims to have been successful — Alexander knows no more than that. So things are in train to get me home to DP on Wednesday the 27th. I am eagerly looking forward to living  with my remaining cat, and to eating seasoned food and to having a second glass of cider if I fancy it. But nervous, too, after three months cushioned in care. And my hip is undoubtedly, very recently, worse. Can Wafa and I manage?

Knitting: I was tremendously grateful for your comment, Tamar — cheerfully assuming  I would rip out a round and a half. I went to bed last night hoping somebody would suggest a fudge. But there was nothing to be done — if I had knit on to the starting point and then turned, there would have been those two messy rounds at the beginning to haunt me forever. As it was, it didn’t really take all that long. Retrieving ribbed stitches is easy because you can see whether you’ve got them all. Once I had them, I put in an extra row of ribbing  to get everybody settled in the right direction and un-split. 

I’ve now reached round five. It’s going to be slow work.

Wordle: back to our usual spread today — threes and fours. Mark, Thomas and Rachel were the threes.

Yesterday”s word was EXERT. My starters gave me ERT, all brown. I can’t remember what I put in line three. I think it was an accidental Jean-word, re-using a letter already excluded. It gave me the second E, however. I was fiddling around with the anagram, typing in X for the unknown letter as is my wont, when I looked at the screen and saw that I had typed in the answer, X and all.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Eventful. Lousy-looking weather, though.

   A) Alexander says the gas leak has been fixed, and that therefore I can leave Cramond on the 21st. No details, about the leak. I am nervous about leaving, after being lapped in unseasoned luxury for two and a half months. Helen fears I need more care than a carer (Wafa) can provide, but I don’t think that is true at the moment. It probably will be soon.

   (B) and (C) suddenly the rest of the day doesn’t seem interesting
  (D) I’m in trouble with the knitting.

I finished the ribbing and embarked on the first pattern row. It was/is perfectly simple if you are familiar with travelling stitches. I should have practiced in advance. Towards the end of the round I counted ahead and saw that the pattern repeats were not going to coincide with the end of the round. So I ripped it all out and laboriously recaptured the stitches and knit the first round, pausing after every 18-stitch repeat to count and to move the marker. It came out even: 14 repeats.

I knit more than half of the second round. I feel I am beginning to get the hang of it.

I noticed that my beautiful, deep, twisted-stitch rib was now on the inside. Not a twist but a short round — somewhere or other I turned around and went in the other direction. I can’t find the place, so it’s probably at the beginning. I fear I’ll have to frog back to there and start the pattern again. I’ll leave it for tonight. Maybe by tomorrow morning I will have decided on an inferior fudge.

Wordle: it looks as if today we have achieved the nirvana I have long hoped for: we all have the same score, namely four. But Mark hasn’t been heard from so could still spoil it all. I have more to say about how I arrived at my four and will have to hope I can remember until tomorrow.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

 Much feeling of new-season in the weather. Helen and David are still in Kirkmichael. I’ve had a pleasant day here in Cramond. We’ve been joined by a New Boy, 6’6” at least, whose presence means that we don’t all fit into the dining room any more — although the difficulty, of course, isn’t physical size. I’ve just had a very pleasant supper with three others in a lounge so close I could walk to it, or at least stagger.

And we talked to each other, which doesn’t often happen in the dining room. 

I need a physiotherapist to advise on walking. How do you do it most efficiently as your left hip collapses?  Perhaps a stick could serve as the left leg while I otherwise hop on the right foot? I need professional advice. A Zimmer frame doesn’t work very well any more.

Knitting has gone forward nicely, too. I’ve finished the wide ribbing, and have embarked, but only just, on the real pattern. 

Anonymous (comment yesterday): I have much sympathy with your comment, that I am knitting a moebius strip, once I have twisted it. And I have little confidence in my own acumen, these days. But I can see that it’s not twisted— the second twist must have undone the damage of  the first, as I meant it to. I can’t even test things out with strips of paper, as perhaps I could if I were at home with pins and things.

Wordle: I was the class dunce, with five, yet again. Four fours, three threes, and me. And I have pretty well weaned myself of Jean-words. It was certainly so today — every line was a serious possible answer.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

 The weather really begins to feel as if the season has turned.

   Helen and David were here this morning, on their way to Kirkmichael, with plans to move the driveway-ditch-neighbour problem forward. Helen doesn’t think that the firm which has been hired to deal with my gas leak will necessarily be able to do the job on the day. We shall see. I certainly won’t make any concrete plans for going home until I have further news.

   But I have been reflecting on how much worse I have become since I came to Cramond sometime in July. In Drummond Place, even with Wafa there, I would get up and get dressed and walk (with Zimmer frame) the considerable length of the house in order  to feed my cats. I couldn’t do that now. I must start practising long walks tomorrow. On the other hand, I didn’t come here straight from Drummond Place — 10 days in hospital intervene. I’m better in many ways — except for walking.

   Knitting: oh, dear. When I was nearly back to where I was when I ripped it all out, I realised that it was, after all, twisted.

   There is a little gap in the smooth lower edge, just where I put in a halfway marker for the back. I think it probably happened when I was knitting the first joined-in-the-round round. Today, I knit on to the beginning of the round, and twisted it back. And I think I will be able to repair the bottom edge fairly successfully once I am at home with a darning needle.

   I also think I understand more clearly what has happened. The first mistake — the one that prompted me to rip everything out — was a “short round” as I said. Unless corrected with a corresponding turn in the other direction, it leaves me knitting inside-out. Whereas today’s error was a twist in the work. I’m still working right-side-out but with the whole thing twisted.

   I’m being very, very careful every time I pick it up — although another twist is pretty well impossible by now.

  Wordle: I was the class dunce again, with the only five. Ketki and Alexander both got two. Everybody else had three except Roger, who made me feel a bit better with a four. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

 Cool but largely sunny today.

Ketki and Alexander say that a man is coming to mend my gas leak on Friday — which rather contradicts what I had been told earlier, about how difficult it could be to locate it, with much ripping-up of floorboards. We shall see. I am so slow and unsteady on my pins these days that there can be no question of my leaving this dull and comfortable place until gas and floorboards and live-in help (and CAT) are back in place.

Knitting went well, spurred on by the sense of self-satisfaction gained from a necessary ripping-out. I’m not as far along as previously, but nearly so, and it certainly looks better with the twisted rib on the outside. I think the size is better, too. The main pattern, when I finally  get there, is twisted stitch, too. I did a course on it at Camp Stitches in (I think) 1999with Candace Strick. Although I went back to Camp Stitches the following year, and to Stitches itself a year or two later, Bavarian Twisted Stitches were the only subject I ever learned anything about.

Helen and David came to see me this morning. They are going to Kirkmichael soon, perhaps tomorrow — but Perdita will have Archie and Fergus to talk to, so that’s all right. It sounds as if they might have a breakthrough in the neighbour-problem there (involving driveway and ditch).

Wordle: Yesterday’s word was OLDER. By line four I had four letters, two of them green, and guessed OLLER, figuring, as I often do, that if it’s not a word, Wordle won’t accept. But it was accepted. I looked it up afterwards. It means “waste land” in some dialect or other. It left me with O, L, ???, E, R but even so I had toiled through most of the unused letters — mercifully, without Wordle accepting the result — before I found D.

Today: three for Ketki, Alexander and Mark; four for Theo, Thomas, and Rachel. An undistinguished five for me.

Monday, September 11, 2023

 The weather was a bit on and off today. I didn’t get out. Helen and her family should be back today. I eagerly look forward to hearing that they all are safely here, and that Perdita, who has been alone in the house all this while, fed by a neighbour, is OK

   My fall: no further repercussions. Tamar, they do have an alarm in the bathroom. I tugged and t ugged but it didn’t work. To their credit, it was put right this morning, and I have also been issued with a portable  alarm to wear on my wrist. Kirsten, you’re right, a stool or even the right sort of chair would help. Something to sit on while I brush my teeth and wash behind my ears. 

   Knitting: i started again. I was about halfway through the ribbing when it t looked to me as if I had somehow turned it inside out. The properly twisted rib seemed to be mostly on the inside, except for the last two rounds. (“Look at your knitting” — one of the most useful of EZ’s maxims.) This sort of thing can happen, has happened to me before, if I pick something up after a gap and set off in the wrong direction.

   But in that case — trying to force my age-fogged brain into action — I would have achieved a “short round”, and ought to be able to spot the parts that were two rounds deeper than other parts.

   But what if I had made the mistake at the starting point? I might have laid it aside  precisely there.

   I continued to be uneasy about size. I remembered another useful rule of life, this one taught me by a nun at the school where I used to teach: When in doubt, take it out.

   So I did, and started again with a substantially smaller size. Much stitch-counting, much careful attention  to not twisting. I am nearly finished with the second round.

   Wordle: again, I found it very hard, and again scraped home with six. And again have something to say about it, if I can hold it in memory until tomorrow.  Rachel joined me with six. Alexander had five. Ketki and her son Thomas scored four. Mark had a sensational three which he modestly attributes to luck.silence, so far, from across the pond.


Sunday, September 10, 2023

 And now it’s raining. That does put a different complexion on things.

I fell down last night, after writing to you. I had gone into the bathroom to get ready for bed. There are one or two operations connected with that process which require both hands. During one of them I subsided to the floor, rather than fell. No harm done, but I couldn’t get up. Eventually help came. That hip is definitely getting worse.

   Helen knew about this, early this morning. She’s still in England with her family, but will come back tomorrow.

   I am well embarked on the twisted rib at the beginning of the Argyll vest. Worried about size. Too soon to tell. I have never had much luck with gauge swatches, and often remember the major early in Evelyn Waugh’s. “Men at Arms” trilogy whose uniform never seemed to fit, not through any fault of his tailor but because the major seemed to change shape from time to time during the day.

   Franklin is trying to teach us to knit to fit at the moment.

   Thank you for your tip about not twisting a circular cast-on. Mary Lou. Who knows? if I have to re-start to improve the fit, I may use it very soon.

   Wordle: Everybody got three or four today except for Theo who needed five. Mine was one of the threes, I’m pleased to report. Makes up for two successive sixes earlier in the week.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

 The sun shone. It was pleasantly cool. I didn’t get out — my hip seems  to have given up walking, and I didn’t like bothering staff  to push me, although they would have done it cheerfully. What I did achieve, however, was knitting.

   The yarn still looked a bit funny in the morning, so I fished the two ball bands out of the waste paper basket. If anything is wrong it’s not my fault and presumably not KD’s. The dyelot numbers match up as they should.

   So I cast on. No swatching or anything like that. The instructions say to choose the size above your actual measurements “with the amount of ease required”. I’ve been generous and it looks huge. We shall see.

   It’s knit bottom-up, p1, k1b. I turned around, after casting on, and ribbed back to the beginning. If I had been doing plain-vanilla rib I would then have knit 3 or4 more rows in that fashion, before joining into a round. However, k1b changes the story somewhat. If I turn the work a second time, I am k1b’ing into stitches which were purled in the row before. Meaning that every stitch is twisted, in one row or the other. Whereas if I go steadily on around from the beginning, purls are always purled and (twisted) knits are twisted.

   And I’m not enough of a Zimmerman to judge whether it makes any difference.

   So, taking no chances, I joined into a circle for the second pattern row. If anyone has a secret method for getting that right, I would be beyond grateful to learn it. In the old days I knit many an Amedeo shawl. She often begins with the edging, then you pick up stitches for the four borders, then join into a circle. And it’s difficult because of the great quantity of stitches. I got it wrong once, and only realised it for sure after a couple of inches. 

   I took a pair of scissors to that corner. Nobody ever complained. And I think I’ve got it right this time.

    But if anybody has a twist-proof system…

   Wordle: another dismal six for me, starting with one brown vowel from my two starters. Ketki and Alexander had twos; Thomas, Theo, Mark, and Rachel scored three. No one else was as feeble as I was, but at least Roger (the other oldie in our little group) needed four.. 

Friday, September 08, 2023

    I got to the hospital. So did Alexander and Ketki. We talked to a nice anaestheologist. (Is that a word? Blogger doesn”t think so.) I have decided not  to have a hip replacement. If things change I could have one, he said, in reasonable time, not back-to-the-end-of-the-queue. 

   So that’s that,at least for the moment. On one point rather sore, but on the whole, delighted. 

   Among the nice doctor’s reasons for not recommending surgery to me was that I have — or have had — bronchiectasis. Nobody ever told me that. I’ve never even heard the word.

   There’s finishing I must do on the baby shawl when I get home, but when that’s done, it’s not at all a bad idea to ring the yarn shop and ask about blocking (comments yesterday). There  are still ends to be tidied away and — to my surprise - - a whole seam to be sewn. I knit the four borders at the same time, back and forth. Instead of joining them into a circle and purling alternate rounds

   So I set to winding the new yarn from KD, and promptly made a mess of it. Of TWO skeins. I’m not blaming the yarn here — it was my mess. I wound the third skein, no trouble, and then went back and successfully untangled and wound one of the others. I’ll leave the final mess until I need it (or not) at the end of the knitting. 

   The two balls I have wound look to be slightly different colours. Surely not.

   Wordle: I think four was the majority score today. Rachel was the star, with two. I was the dunce, with six. My grid was wonderful. My first starter word gave me ???, grn, grn, grn, grn. So I started guessing the  first letter, and, as I just said, finally got it on the sixth line. Wordle players can easily visualise my grid. It was pretty impressive.


Thursday, September 07, 2023

 I’ve had another bulletin from Paradox: all continues well. I think it must be true that she (and Perdita, too) is basically an Only Cat. It’s all my fault, for introducing her to the household because I thought she would be company for Perdita while I jetted around the world (or at least to Palermo) after my husband died.  I am lucky — as are both cats — that the story has so happy an ending.

  Alexander and Ketki came to see me — and will stay in Drummond Place tonight to escort me to a hospital appt tomorrow morning. This is the one where we get to grips with hip replacement, yes or no. They didn’t have anything substantial to report about the Drummond Place problems, plumbing and gas.

  Meanwhile I have finished knitting the shawl for the next great-grandson. Even granted a table here, which might be possible, I don’t think blocking could be done. It would also need something to cover the table with and to pin the shawl to; and lots of pins; and some scissors; and a darning needle; and a suitable sink; and towels. No, too much.

   I had wound plenty of yarn to knit the remaining edging. One of the staff here went off with the skein of yarn I mentioned yesterday,  to try her hand, but returned it today in exasperation. It is a very good thing that I didn’t choose it as the first or second ball. Its imperfections weren’t obvious to begin with. 

   The new yarn from Kate Davies turned up today, just when most needed. I hope to cast on tomorrow. The long, long circular with which I have been knitting the shawl is close enough to the right size to get me started.

Wordle: Ketki was today’s star, with the only three. The rest of us got fours and fives, with fours predominating. I was in that group.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

 I think perhaps my arthritic hip is worse. I can’t walk as far (with the Zimmer frame) as before. (I can’t walk any distance at all without it.) I have at appt at the Royal Infirmary on Friday morning to be further assessed for a hip-replacement operation. Alexander and Ketki will take me and remain in attendance. I look forward to discussing with a doctor the pros and cons of proceeding. I’m rather against, as I think is Alexander and also Helen. 

Nothing happened today. The sun shone. 

And I finally finished the second skein of yarn and prepared to wind the third. It is defective — lots of breaks — and I don’t, for once, think it’s my fault. The yarn was bought recently. The other two skeins — 100  grams (440 yards)  of sock yarn in each — were faultless. There’s no other sign of moth-infestation.

In any case, I must take what I’m given. When I came to the first break I thought ahah! I’ll just wind off what I need  and leave the rest of the skein. There’s the rub, of course. How much do I need? By the time I had struggled on to lunchtime, I had three small balls. I have attached the one I think is the largest. There are 3 1/2 scallops to go. Report tomorrow.

The KD package has been dispatched, they tell me, but has not yet arrived.

Wordle: a funny one. My starters served me well. I scored three, as did Theo, Thomas, and Mark. That’s half of us. Of the other four, Roger scored four, Alexander five, Ketki six, and Rachel failed. Alexander, Ketki, and poor Rachel spent a lot of time stuck on ???, ???, grn, grn, grn. 

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

 Mostly about cats, today, but first —

Knitting went well. Surely there can’t be more than one more scallop in that ball of yarn, so tomorrow will be yarn-winding day. KD has dispatched my package. What about needles?

Alexander and Ketki came this morning. Together we talked to someone from the City of Edinburgh (I think) about what they will provide: a hospital bed, a commode, a snazzy tool for getting in and out of a bath. Alexander and Ketki then went off to address my other problems but I won’t get a report on that until Thursday.

   Cats: I had a message today from Paradox’ new owner to say that she seemed to expect to be given water on the kitchen worktop. What a clever cat, to express that! That’s exactly where I gave her water, in a little machine called a Cat Mate which made a little waterfall as cats are said to like moving water. It had to be plugged in, hence the worktop. I’m sure Alexander and Ketki haven’t allowed her onto a worktop in the last two months.

   She has also been gathering balls of yarn, as she wanders about at night, and putting them with her cat-carrier.

   Anonymous (comment yesterday): I’m not convinced that Paradox and Perdita are alienated by each other’s looks, but it’s a very interesting idea. They have the same mother, about two years apart. Paradox is the glamorous sister — longer fur, a longer tail. She had the finest tail in the Second New Town —( now I suppose I’ve got to say “…in the south of England”). She used to sit on top of appropriate pieces of furniture and display it artlessly. Perdita has a rather unusually short tail —I have wondered sometimes whether she might not be 1/64th wild cat.

   And Paradox’ colours, although very similar to Perdita’s, are conspicuously brighter. There’s plenty to be bad-tempered about.

   Wordle: Roger is still un-heard-from. Otherwise all threes and fours. I was among the threes. 

Monday, September 04, 2023

 I had a serious struggle this morning with various systems, but I think, thanks to the patience and intelligence of a member of Kate Davies’ staff, that a pack of yarn, in the colour I want, is on its way to Cramond. The pattern turns out to be in KD’s Argyle book, which in turn is in my Ravelry library. So I was spared the struggle which might have been involved, storing the new one in there.  Freed from the fear of running out of knitting, I have knocked off several scallops on the shawl today, and there’s time for at least one more.

   This shawl has been knit centre-out, as you probably remember. When I finished the centre, I switched to a new ball of yarn, just in case, but in the event could see no difference. So when I finished the second ball of yarn, fairly recently, I went back to the first one. That’s where I am now, in that state we’ve all experienced in which a tiny amount of yarn at the end of a ball seems to go on forever.

    But it won’t. Valuable knitting time will have to be set aside to wind the next ball. 100 grams of sock yarn — not trivial. At least I had enough foresight to bring another skein to Cramond with me. 

   The other big event of the weekend has been getting rid of my cat Paradox. It has been deeply distressing, but mercifully Helen and the adopter arranged everything — I never saw the cat and didn’t have to worry about plans. And all went very well. From the little I know, Alexander (or Ketki) brought the cat over yesterday from Loch Fyne and gave it to Helen. Helen drove it south, with her family, on their way to a family holiday. And at some point they met the adopter’s mother who drove it further south and kept it overnight.

   This morning cat and new owner were united, and took to each other, and drove off home.

Wordle: Another stinker. My two starter words yielded one brown vowel. I found a good word for line three — and it achieved NOTHING. Well, except to eliminate four more consonants and one more position for the vowel. Line four was better, and I got it on line five. Four was the near-universal score, but Rachel soothed my feelings by scoring six.

ONION: my starters gave me brown O and I, and a nice green N at the end. I thought of ONION early on, and thought of how Alexander would disapprove. It didn’t eliminate a single letter. (Alexander’s rule, I think, is to avoid double letters in the early stages.) but the letters looked like ONION and I couldn’t think of anything else so I typed it in and it was right.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

 Nothing whatsoever was achieved today. Nice weather, though. C. came. She pushed me around the garden. I won’t see her, or Helen, for a week. Alexander and Ketki are picking up the load. I should see them.

  I still can’t remember the Knitting Bishop’s name. I’m sure I could winkle it out of Google. There was a letter from the current Lord Kitchener once in the Times, giving an address. I wrote to him asking about “Kitchener stitch”. He replied a year later, saying that he had never heard of it. I then wrote to the Bishop. He replied at once, “Dear Jean”, but couldn’t solve the problem. I have both letters in my archives somewhere.

Wordle: I couldn’t do it. C. usually does it, but hadn’t this morning. I showed her my three lines. I had struggled mightily for half an hour and was beginning to believe there was no qualifying word in the language. C. looked at it for a while, and got it, so my “winning streak” is intact. Rachel and Theo were the threes today. Alexander needed six.

I can still remember what I want to say about yesterday’s ONION but am too tired.  Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

 Nice, sunny day, and more is forecast for the week beginning tomorrow. Helen and David came, and we got out to the garden. I won’t see them again until they get back from their English holiday in 10 days’ time or so.

   I have spent a happy time otherwise, reading Fuchsia Dunlop’s new book “Invitation to a Banquet”, pre-ordered from Amazon, delivered by Helen. It’s not recipes but a history of Chinese food. I’ve got several of her recipe books and hope this book will inspire me to return to them, when I get home. Chinese cooking is well-suited to my feeble state, as much of it can be done sitting down, as one slices and chops. She writes very well.

   I have pressed on somewhat, as well, with Norwegian knitting. Iceland and the Faroes are also involved. I must go back to the good bishop’s book to see how he pulls European knitting all together. 

   And I have pressed on somewhat with actual knitting. I’m holding back a bit, for fear of running out before the new project arrives from Kate Davies.

Wordle: a three today, of which I was very proud. My hope of having the only such score was frustrated by Thomas. The others were evenly split between fours and fives. There are some things I’d like to say about today’s struggle and I fear I will have forgotten all about it by tomorrow.

Friday, September 01, 2023

 Not too bad a day. This time I did get out, and the effort has flattened me. I think I’ll opt for being wheeled to supper.

   Helen and David came to see me, on their way back from the airport, I thilnk, David having just arrived from Thessaloniki. They are going for a week to visit his mother, handing over Paradox to her new owner on the way.

  Your comment frightened me, Mary Lou, because it coincides with a worry of my own. I don’t think plumbing work has cracked the gas pipe, because they are so far away from each other at either end in a house which is long like a railway carriage  But I wonder if both couldn’t have been damaged by building work below — not in Mr Downstairs’ flat but in one mysteriously next to it, below us. 

  Knitting progresses well, except that I got involved in a mysterious mess this morning as a result of which the fagotting is less than perfect at one spot — the first such lapse on this final side of the shawl. I’m worrying away now about whether I will have replacement knitting in time.

   I’ve sent KD’s book “Davaar” home with Helen. There is little more to tell you about it. The island is uninhabited.  A couple of holiday lets are available, one of them — where Kate and her husband lodged — a former WWII lookout post. And in a cave someone — a known someone — painted a Crucifixion in the mid-nineteenth century. It quite promptly became and has remained a place of pilgrimage. 

   I’ve read a bit more of “Norway’s Knitted Heritage”. It continues to be very thorough, but I have hit on nothing else to report here yet.

   Wordle: another one that saw us widely divergent. Poor Roger had grn, ???, grn, ???, grn for his very first line, and eventually scraped home with six. Thomas and Mark had two. Ketki, Alexander and Theo scored three. Rachel and I had four.