Sunday, March 31, 2024

 We had a lovely, sunny Easter, which is more than they had in London. Helen came to lunch — “Christos anesti” “alethos anesti” — and we enjoyed the Nicoise salad, mostly made by C. who came earlier. 

   Knitting has gone well. I’ve finished binding off, at laborious last, and am hemming, which seems to be going well. The big knitting news, however, is “Shetland Fine Lace Knitting” by Carol Christianson. She is a Very Important Textile Person at the Shetland museum in Lerwick. The book was published last month (nobody told me). Jamieson & Smith is already announcing happily that they’ve got more stock in. I’ve ordered it from Amazon, I’m afraid — cheaper, quicker — and should be able to report on it to you tomorrow.

   I don’t suppose I’ll ever knit a lace project again. But I do want to keep up with the subject.

   All four of my children will be here next weekend. It’s not at all clear yet how much they will overlap, and rail strikes are threatened to complicate things.It would be nice if we could manage to eat together.

   Wordle: we got very close today to my dream score — when we all score the same. Poor Roger spoiled it, with a five. Otherwise, all fours. I found it very difficult. I now force myself — or try to — to enter a real suggestion, not a Jean-word, in line three

Saturday, March 30, 2024

 I’m very sorry about yesterday. I actually forgot. Nothing happened, anyway. Nor did anything happen today. It was a bit brighter, and now the sun is shining. We’ve just put the clocks forward. It’s nice to know that the sun could be shining at 6pm tomorrow.

  Knitting: I’m slowly, slowly binding off the body stitches of my Spalding pullover. I hope to finish this evening. I hope it’ll go faster from now on — but I hope that every time I finish a section, and it’s never true.

   Thanks for your hemming tip, Chloe (comment Thursday). In this case there is a fold line — a whole, agonising round of purling — which should have somewhat the same effect, if I have counted the rows accurately since and before. 

   Helen was here at midday. She had ambitious plans for recording a Youtube video about some mosaic technique, but was seduced by sunshine into spending the time in her garden, weeding. She hopes to be here in good time tomorrow for our salade nicoise.  Then London, for her.

   I’ve been reading “The Secret of Cooking” by Bee Wilson. Recommended, on the whole. She mentions at one point the experience of lockdown, when one was forced back onto cooking with what one actually had. Lady, that’s what it’s like in the country, every day. With a table-ful of ravenous adolescents, perhaps, who haven’t had access to a corner shop or junk food all day.

   Wordle: another day of threes and fours (I think yesterday was much the same),  Over here in GB, Rachel and I were the fours. In DC, Roger was the three and Theo the four.

    My starters gave me two green vowels and one brown consonant. After a struggle I thought of a fully qualifying but rather peculiar word. It helped, I now had three greens, and got the answer in the next line. In my early Wordle days, I often used a jean-word in line three, and often scored five as a result. Four is much commoner now.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

 The sun has come out, after a slow, cold, and very grey start. Feels good.

   Helen came again, and we got through some more chores. She is going to London on Sunday to see her oldest and dearest friend, briefly  here from France. On Wednesday Rachel and a modest selection of her descendants will arrive for a few days. Alexander and Ketki will come on Friday. Then next week when they’ve all gone away, James and Cathy will come. The mind boggles.

   Helen is going down on Sunday on a midday train. Nicole and I (the current carer) will make a Nicoise salad early in the day in the hopes that she will be able to rush in and eat a few mouthfuls before going to the station. Easter dinner.

   Knitting went well — so well that I am currently binding off the lower body. The pattern offers the option of hemming as you bind off, but I know from old experience that I would get that wrong. It starts off fine and then I find that the hem is more and more on a slant. And if that was true when I tried to do it 20 years ago…

   I spent a few moments over at the Schoolhouse Press today, as often, and learned that Meg has a new book coming out later this year. No subject mentioned. But exciting news.

   Wordle: everybody scored three or four today. Rachel and Thomas and I were the fours. 


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

 More grey, more rain. Not much hope for Easter, either.

   Helen is home after teaching mosaic-making down souff. She had a grand time, it would appear. I unloaded all my problems. She found the pepper-grinder right away. Some of the financial probs are going to take longer.

   Thanks, Mary Lou, for the reference  (comment yesterday) to the Smithsonian article about Galla Placidia. I haven’t pursued it yet. From the title it sounds as if it might amount to what my neighbour was saying — that GP was a thoroughly competent administrator in the midst of a lot of useless men.

   I got slightly more knitting done than usual today, and there’s still time for more. It seems endless, but in fact  a couple more days like today will see the hem finished. I’ll do the collar next, whatever the pattern says.

   I’m about to have asparagus for my supper, and am cross to discover that Waitrose sent me Mexican when I ordered British.

   Wordle: Rachel failed again — a most unusual two in a row. I did that at the New Year. It was another upsy-downsy day. Alexander and I had four, as did Theo and Roger in DC. Thomas and Ketki scored five, Mark snuck home with six.

   Roger had a distinguished three yesterday — see comments. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

 Another dull, grey day of non-accomplishment. Helen should be back tomorrow.

  A neighbour whom I hadn’t seen for a long time came to call this morning. It was delightful to see her. She spoke with great enthusiasm about Galla Placidia of whom I know nothing except a vague recognition of the name. Perhaps I should advance in that direction. She — my neighbour — was a lawyer/solicitor in active life, so 5th century Europe is home ground for her.

  Knitting has proceeded, slowly, slowly.

  Wordle: we were all over the place today. Five for me. The starters produced two vowels and a consonant, all brown. The guesses for lines three and four were both valid and both useful.

   Ketki and Thomas and Theo were fellow-fives. Rachel failed. Alexander and Mark  both had brilliant threes, although Mark appended a note suggesting that his was a lucky fluke. Silence so far from Roger. I’ll add him in if heard from before my early bedtime.

Monday, March 25, 2024

 Another quiet day, wet and dreary. I must plan in advance a good time to move into the Catalogue Room. After visitors-before lunch might do it. Four pm, after the carer’s afternoon break, is another possibility.

   Helen will head home tomorrow, I think, and I’ll see her on Wednesday.

   Catriona (comment yesterday) — there’s a phone number to ring on my Covid appt letter if mobility is limited. I’m hopeful that you’re right and it will be easy to book a house call. The appt is well in the future; I’m leaving that one for Helen like much else.

   Kirsten (another comment): James’ wife Cathy’s parents have recently had a lift put in to their house in Cheltenham. I gather it’s a success. Investigate that? He’s got dementia and she’s got bad knees. 

   Knitting has advanced, but all too slowly. I think I bought all the yarn the pattern wanted in the first colour, plus two more skeins in the contrast. I hope so. Today I switched back to the first colour, to finish off the hem. I think I’ll go on to do the collar next (contrast colour) and leave the sleeves to last. (Brooklyn Tweed Spalding)

  Wordle: Two browns today, consonant and vowel, from my starters. I got it in five. Rachel and Ketki also had fives. Thomas, Alexander and Theo four, Mark a distinguished three. Roger scraped home with a six. He was the only one who shared my configuration: grn, grn, grn, ???. ???. He guessed wrong three times, I only two. The others all approached the answer by different routes.



Sunday, March 24, 2024

I’m laggard in commenting on the latest royal misfortune. The Princess’ cancer certainly explains the sense the whole nation has had — perhaps not too strong to say, the whole world — that there was something we weren’t being told. Their reason — that they didn’t want to tell the  children until the start of the Easter holiday — makes sense.  But my feeling is that (a)  children are usually pretty tough and (b) they, too, will have suffered from the feeling we have all been suffering under, that there was something they weren’t being told. 

   I will have to stay alive for several years, at least, to see how this all comes out.

   Not much else to report. It has been a bright, sunny day, but cold, I gather. No visitors. Helen is having a good time teaching mosaic-making down souff. She is much missed here, too but the list of things we need to consult her about grows by the hour. Where is my pepper-grinder? How does one charge the bath seat? What are we to do about my next covid injection if I still can’t get up and down the front steps? And there are more.

   Thank you for your comments lately about Finding Things..i’ll have to work out a system of some sort. 

  Wordle: I had a fairly easy three this morning — my starters gave me two vowels, one green, one brown. I struggled for a while to find any word. When I came up with one, it didn’t seem terribly likely but I typed it in and it was right.

   Mark was another three. The rest of the British-based had fours. In DC Theo scored yet another three and Roger, as not infrequently, hasn’t been heard from.



Saturday, March 23, 2024

 Quiet again. I must make a real effort to move into the Catalogue Room, which would mean I could use the laptop and show  you some pictures; and into the bedroom, to sort out some drawers. I discovered when dressing for my hospital appt this week, that one drawer, at least, was stuffed to the gills, with the contents in a totally unusable state.

  It is very disconcerting to be in one’s dear, familiar house and find everything different. Nicole and I — the current carer — couldn’t find a dear, familiar pan at lunchtime. We found something to cook the lunch in, but not that one, 

  It’s no use complaining.  I’m lucky to be here, I guess. 

  C. came this morning. No news. 

  Wordle: an easy four today. My starters gave me the whole word, in anagram form. Line three was a possible solution, but wrong — three greens and two browns, so all I had to do was reverse the position of the browns. Ketki and Mark had exactly the same grid, and same result. Rachel was another four, with a similar grid, but different browns to be reversed. Alexander was another four — totally different approach. 

   Roger scored six. Theo and Thomas both had brilliant twos. Theo had the same grid as me and Ketki and Mark, but he achieved it in line one. Thomas, indeed,  had the most brilliant grid I’ve ever seen — I wish there was some way to frame it. Line One was a total failure — no browns, no greens.  Line two was right.



Friday, March 22, 2024

 A spring day. Wind and rain, sunshine and showers. What am I going to do about Easter?

   Knitting moved forward. I am now worrying away about yarn. I’m knitting with Brooklyn Tweed’s Tones (I think) with two skeins of the lighter, toning colour meant to be used for the waist and the substantial collar. Then I didn’t use it for the waist entirely, because we won the Calcutta Cup so I stuck with the main colour and knit the Cup in the contrast.

   Now I’ve turned the knitting and am knitting the hem in the contrast. But I’m worrying about whether there’s going to be enough for that collar. I could switch back to the main colour once I’ve done a bit more wrong-side hem. I am more confident that I’ve got plenty of that.

   (This is Brooklyn Tweed’s Spalding pattern.)

   Nobody came to see us today. Helen is away teaching mosaic-making at a grand country-house venue down souff. 

   I am reading an interesting book about WWII propaganda and a propagandist I had never heard of called Sefton Delmer. They’re reading it aloud on the radio in the middle of the night. He was so convincing that Roosevelt’s people heard it and reported to the White House in 1940 or ‘41 that Germany was about to rise against Hitler so there was no point in the US joining the war.

   Churchill sent the Queen’s brother, Somebody Bowes-Lyon, to the White House to talk to Roosevelt alone and in confidence, to explain.

   Wordle: Four was the majority score today, including mine. Theo, Thomas and Mark scored three — all credit to them. All the rest of us had four.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

 A good day. The hospital appt went well, I tried out a wheelchair and steered it with verve. The NHS is going to give me a lifetime loan of it. And the fortnightly changeover from one carer to the other also went well.

  I got a fair amount of knitting done. I have now done an agonising round of purling to mark the turn, and started knitting back up the underside of the hem, and it’s going fairly briskly. We need a pic.

   It was grand driving through Edinburgh to the hospital. Daffodils are out in full force in all the parks. Glorious!

   I had leftovers of yesterday’s cold chicken with a spicy Sechuan sauce for my lunch. I added some steamed vegetables — mange tout and carrot — but unfortunately they are underdone — not my fault. Tomorrow I may be ready to move on to Vegetarian Clay-Bowl ‘Chicken’.

   Wordle: it’s a stinker, a Wordle classic. I was overjoyed to score six. I had four greens, with the gap in 4th place. I still had two more letters to try when I struck lucky and got it right on the 6th line. Rachel and Mark failed. Ketki was another six, Thomas and Theo had five, Alexander and Roger four.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

 I’m sorry about yesterday. But here I am today (on the equinox, I believe) and nothing much has happened on either day. Tomorrow I am going to a hospital to be assessed for and advised about a wheelchair. This is the appointment we had arranged once before and didn’t get to because the ambulance didn’t turn up to fetch me. This time we’ll pay for transport. 

   I cooked Cold Chicken with a Spicy Sechuan Sauce today. It was rather tasty. My mortar and pestle have disappeared. It is a very strange world, with strangers operating in one’s kitchen and nothing where I expect to find it. I needed to toast and then pulverise some Sechuan pepper.

   C. came today, but even she had no news. Helen, likewise. 

   Wordle: I scored four this morning, and for a long time thought that I would have the single best score of the day. Theo finally joined me — but at least nobody did better. We all clearly found it tough.  Mark, Ketki, Alexander and Roger were the fives. Six for Thomas and Mark. Neither C. nor I entirely approve of today’s word, either. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

 A quiet day — no one came to see us. And, again, a spring day. They’re having nice weather in Kirkmichael, too. Helen has sent a picture of our teeny tiny wellingtonia. It’s looking well. 

  I pressed on with knitting. I have finished the Calcutta Cup, and — because I positioned the Cup farther down than I meant to — I have almost finished the first half of the plain vanilla st st band at the waist. Within a couple of rounds, I must turn around and knit the same amount up again and join for a hem.

   But mostly, apart from dozing, I have pressed forward with Chinese cookery and my project of working my way through Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Every Grain of Rice”. I won’t be able to attempt the next recipe until I have a grocery delivery on Wednesday plus some more delicacies from Sous Chef. 

   Dunlop has a page early on called “magic ingredients”. If you have them in your larder, you can whip up a delicious Chinese meal in no time from the desiccated vegetables in the back of your refrigerator, or so it is claimed.  I am ordering ingredients as they crop up in recipes. No point in getting too far ahead of myself — I might lose interest. I sent for six items today; two or three last week. I haven’t got any of Fuchsia’s magic ingredients yet. My next recipe will be “Cold Chicken with a Spicy Sichuanese Sauce”.

  Wordle: Mark’s brilliant two was the scene-stealer today.  Thomas and Ketki and Theo were the threes. Alexander and Rachel and I came chugging up behind with fours. Nothing from Roger yet. It’s early. I may yet be able to record his score before I fold and go to bed. And I am able: it was a very creditable three, and I can still hold up for another ten minutes or so.  

Sunday, March 17, 2024

 Many American holidays have insinuated themselves here, notably Christmas and Mother’s Day and evenThanksgiving. (All of those were known here, but in recent years the American form of observance  has taken over.) One outstanding exception is today. If you live in Ireland, you’re welcome to celebrate. If not, forget it. St Patrick was getting out of hand in the US when I was young, in the early 50’s. I rejoice annually in having escaped it.

  On the other hand, this has been a real first-day-of-spring sort of day. The light in the bedroom this morning seemed an hour brighter, although it couldn’t have been. The sun is shining. It’s warm.

   Scotland lost at rugby yesterday, but we didn’t disgrace ourselves. I didn’t watch either of the other matches — watching rugby is hard work. Both were thrilling. Italy beat Wales. They’ve had their best season ever.

   I made a Chinese lunch — “tofu bamboo with spring-onion flavoured oil”. It was really rather nice. I now have to pause for a few days and order some more ingredients.

  No knitting, though.

   Wordle: my two starters gave me all five browns today — I don’t think that has ever happened before. The struggle with the anagram wasn’t too bad — three for me. Alexander, Mark, Thomas, and Theo had threes as well. Four for Rachel. Five for Ketki and Roger. A lot pf people struggled with the second letter.


Friday, March 15, 2024

A bit better, today. The weather is a bit brighter. I got some knitting done — one more round will finish off the Calcutta Cup. I mean to do that this evening. The final Six Nations matches are tomorrow. Ireland v. Scotland is fairly late in the afternoon and we are very likely to lose. If you don’t hear from me, that’s why.

   David is coming from Thessaloniki tomorrow. He and Helen will stop here on their way to Strathardle.  I will re-emphasise the importance of a picture of our Wellingtonia.  

   Thank you for your food comment, Lisa. I found smoked tofu with celery boring. Not enough chilli sauce? No peanuts? Should I have fried the Tofu? I will press on — the next recipe is Tofu Bamboo with Spring Onion Flavoured Oil, and for that I have to wait until some tofu bamboo and Sichuanese pickled chilli is delivered from London.

   AA Gill, of whom I was a great fan, said once that if you want to be a good cook, the trick is not to cook ten things, but to cook one thing ten times (and get it right). Perhaps when I get to a recipe that nearly pleases, I’ll pause and try it that way. My mother (who loved them) was violently allergic to nuts. I’ve never had such a reaction, but I don’t much like them and tend to avoid.

356    Wordle:  Mysteriously, Thomas says he scored four today — but Wordle says he failed, and set his  356 day streak back to 0. Maybe you’re not allowed more than a year? 

   I, too, scored four, as did Rachel, Theo and Roger. Mark scored three, and the husband-and-wife team of Alexander and Ketki were the stars with two each (but different grids). 



Thursday, March 14, 2024

 Gloom reappeared, weather-wise. And there is little else to report. I haven’t done any knitting at all — not illness or even decline, I don’t think, just disinclination to having to push the stitches around that slightly-too-small needle (see yesterday). I am about to attempt smoked tofu with celery and peanuts from”Every Grain of Rice” for my supper, because it’s next in the book. I may leave the peanuts out.

   What I neglected to mention yesterday is that there has been an article in a horticultural/scientific journal about Wellingtonias. Apparently there are far more in GB than in California. They were brought here in the mid-nineteenth century. The one in the youthful Agatha Christie’s garden (as mentioned here recently) will have been an early specimen. It grows quickly, and, in maturity, is the largest living thing on earth.

   The article apparently doesn’t mention that Mrs Miles of Strathardle put one in recently. I’ll have Helen photograph ours when she is next there.

   Wordle: My starters gave me three browns and a green. I hate anagrams. But all my entries were real guesses — no Jean-words. I scored a very undistinguished five. So did Roger in DC; some comfort.  My nephew Theo, his son, also in DC, scored a brilliant two.

Everybody else scored either three or four. Alexander and his son Thomas, to be specific, were the threes, with identical grids.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

The sun came out, late this afternoon. It’s extraordinary the extent to which it raises the spirits.

Not much knitting. I thought  that perhaps now I have identified the problem — that knitting the welt on a smaller-gauge needle is tight and slightly unpleasant — it would be easier to plow on, but it isn’t. Fairly soon I’ll have done my three inches (fairly soon, at least, if I can persuade myself to do any knitting). Then I turn it inside out and knit another three. Do I dare go up a needle size? No, surely not.

   C. came this morning, all well. No news. 

   Anonymous, I hope you enjoy Every Grain of Rice. Some years ago, when I could walk, I started working my way through it systematically. I got up as far as “silken tofu with avocado” on page 42 (not  very far) on 4/1/19 — my note is “dull, even with wasabi”.

   Today, I decided to resume the practice. I have a grocery order coming tomorrow anyway. I added the few extra things I would need for the next two recipes, and off we go.

   Wordle: I had a tough time today, and was pleased not to fail. The starters afforded two vowels, a green and a brown. I used a Jean-word in line three, which gave me a second green vowel.  I finally thought of a word that fit — wrong but useful. I got it in line five. 

   Alexander joined me there. Rachel had a four. The other three Brits scored three. In DC, both Roger and Theo scored four.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

 A grey and relatively uneventful day. Helen came late (=just now) after a busy day preparing for a teaching session next week. We had a nice time (Helen, me, carer) talking about. The Royal Family. I thought it was just me who had an unhealthy interest.

  Knitting has progressed somewhat. I am knitting a broad st st band at the bottom of the sweater (which I am knitting top down). I have gone down a needle size, as instructed, and the result is that knitting is not so pleasant or easy as I expected. 

   I’ve been thinking about Chinese food (of all things). I find it I have the audio version of Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Invitation to a Banquet”. I’m sure I’ve got the book — I read it last summer when I was in Cramond. But A) I can’t find it now and B) I’m equally sure I never bought the audio book.

  Still, here it is, and I’ve been enjoying it. Fuchsia herself is the reader. Nice voice. I think I’ll have another look at her “Every Grain of Rice”. I can’t cook, since I can’t walk, but I can boss carers about fairly successfully.

 Wordle: I scored a not-entirely-disgraceful three. Alexander joined me there. Ketki, Mark and Rachel had four, Thomas five. However, the really interesting score came from further away. 

  Theo had four, nothing interesting about that. Roger’s first row was ???, ???, grn, ???, grn. So was his second row, and third, and fourth, and fifth, and sixth.  I’ve never seen anything like it. No browns in the mixture at all.Tomorrow when I am somewhat more alert (perhaps) I will try to think what some of his guesses might have been

Monday, March 11, 2024

 Another day of non-achievement. There’s still time for a bit of knitting. Grey and cold.

   Mysteriouser and mysteriouser, when it comes to the Royal Family. Or is it just that they’ve got accessibility wrong? I wasn’t happy with that now-infamous Mother ‘s Day picture from the beginning, not for any of the real reasons but because it looked to me as if mother and children were smiling on different occasions. That could have been because she is a grown-up (and not very well). It’s encouraging, I guess, that she feels well enough to take on some photo-shopping.

   Wordle: I struggled this morning, resorted to a Jean-word (= couldn’t possibly be right) for line four, got it in five. All the other players on this side of the pond scored four. In DC, Theo was another four and Roger, as often, hasn’t been heard from yet. Whatever he regularly does first thing in the morning, it isn’t Wordle.


Sunday, March 10, 2024

 Yesterday was rugby again, as you may well have guessed. Scotland were beaten by Italy in Rome. An exciting match, and a victory it was difficult to begrudge them. England beat Ireland in London, another thriller. They are surely the only two of the Six Nations who have fired real bullets at each other in relatively recent years.

  The other Nations are Scotland, Wales, France and Italy.

   Today’s match was France against Wales, in Wales. France won. That was a good one, too, until France pulled away in the last ten minutes.

   Next weekend we play Ireland and are very likely to get beaten. Then it’s over for another year. 

   Helen came to lunch. Fortunately I had a Mindful Chef vegetarian number on hand.

   Knitting progressed somewhat, but much of the time was spent winding the next ball. Still, that’s progress.

   Wordle: We were spread about a bit today.  Thomas and Rachel were the stars, with two.  Roger, Alexander and Mark scored three. Theo and I had fours. Poor Ketki crept home with a five.

   One mildly interesting thing is that Thomas and Ketki and I had no browns, throughout the game. I don’t remember that ever happening before.

Friday, March 08, 2024

 Another grey, chill day. The knitting has advanced. I’m pretty sure the Calcutta Cup bit is somehow reversed. Helen thinks so, at first glance. (When she is designing a mosaic, she uses a transparent paper. When the design is ready, she can just turn it over.)

  But she also thought I could just go ahead. She thinks the result will be rather entertaining. I still don’t know what I expect. The Cup will be OK — it’s symmetrical, as rendered in knitting. And everything will be the right way up. Mirror-image? for the numbers. I’ll keep you posted.

Hilde (comment yesterday) : That’s what I’m doing, knitting the usual Calcutta Cup pattern upside down. I don’t at all understand where the difficulty comes from. 

 I spent some time on a grocery order. Waitrose is out of globe artichokes! Springtime couldn’t be over in the Mediterranean quite yet!

Commenters asked yesterday about the change of carers. That’s the way this firm does it, two weeks on and two weeks off for everybody. It makes sense, and I like both of my two. I miss Wafa — she and I were working on a system where she could stay here most of the time. But everybody else thought she was encroaching too much and moved in without my prior knowledge to send her away. 

Wordle:  Most of us had four today. I scored a doltish five, Rachel a smart three.Theo, in DC, was another three and, as not infrequently, we haven’t heard from his father Roger yet. 

Thursday, March 07, 2024

 I did at least some knitting. I became completely convinced that the Calcutta Cup was backwards — although not upside down. Could it just remain backwards? Not if the digits in “24” were reversed. I was on the point of ripping back when I began to doubt myself. I’ll tackle it in the morning tomorrow, when I’m brighter, and I’ll also ask Helen who must encounter analogous problems in mosaic-making.

   Otherwise there is little to report. We had the fortnightly carer turnover. It went peacefully. But still made the day a bit stressful.

   Helen was here this morning, tidying up after recent mosaic-making. The vital delete key on her laptop computer seems to have put itself right (see Tuesday). She is trying to organise my well-meaning but somewhat feckless carers into taking better care of the house. They ought to, for what we pay. They take good care of me — no difficulty there. 

  Wordle: another day without much spread. Here in Britain, Thomas scored a dazzling two. Alexander, Mark, Rachel and I had three. Four for Ketki.  In DC, Theo had another three, and Roger another dazzling two. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2024


Grey, chilly. I got a bit of knitting done, and continue to be satisfied that I’ve got the Calcutta Cup the right way around. Another day’s work should make it certain, if I can ever persuade myself to do another day’s work. 

Thanks for interesting remarks about. wellingtonias. I assume they’re called that here in honour of the greatest 19th century Englishman. I was particularly interested in your news, Mary Lou, that they won’t “do” where you are. Strathardle is pretty cold, but the show garden attached to a big house further up the glen (=colder) has a successful one. So does the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. Ours has only been in a year, and is very happy, I think. I’ll get Helen to take a picture the next time she is there.

   You suggest an interesting addition to my food list of yesterday, Tamar: namely rhubarb. I love it. How did I ever taste it? We never had it at home, nor at Oberlin, and I sailed off to Glasgow assuming it was a rare and expensive growth like artichokes. (It grows almost like a weed.) 

   I don’t eat it nowadays because I try to avoid sugar. And for 2024 I fear I have already missed its best moment — the forced rhubarb of Jan and Feb. It will be available here in some form all year round, always pretty cheap. I was interested in your remark that it is not always available in US supermarkets.

  Wordle: The British contingent was evenly split between threes and fours — I was a three. In DC, Theo was another four, and his father Roger flattened us all with a two. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

 Bright and sunny but still cold. Helen has finished her mosaic but now finds that the Delete key on her portable computer doesn’t work so she has rushed up the hill to Apple in the hopes of being able to deal with some of the administration that has been piling up while she made the mosaic.

   I haven’t done any more knitting. This is bad.

   I have been thinking about the delicious things that go in and out of season, especially this time of year, and are so easily overlooked when you shop on-line.

   1) marmalade oranges. I think I’ve missed them for this year. I don’t want to make marmalade but I would like to use the juice instead of lemon juice for a happy week or two.

   2) globe artichokes.They are currently in season around the Mediterranean and I love them above all else.

   3) local asparagus. It will be with us in a moment. It grew abundantly in the grandparents’ gardens of my childhood and was cooked to death and I never suspected that there was anything special about it until middle age was fairly advanced.

   4) sweet corn. I mention this simply honoris causa. I will never taste it again, as it should be, within hours of picking. The last time I was in the US, for nephew Theo’s wonderful wedding, Hellie Ogden and I got there fairly late after a long hard day. I don’t remember why I should have been helping in the kitchen, but I do remember that the outside rubbish bin was nearly full of corn husks — from the day before. I got that close. 

  Wordle: I got a creditable four. Roger and Theo both failed, stuck as I was two days ago with four greens and the first letter to be filled in and too many possibilities. 

   Mark and Rachel had six, Ketki five, same problem. Alexander and Thomas had four, like me, and like me came at the problem from a different direction. My starters gave me a green in the first position so I was spared that hopeless guessing. 


Monday, March 04, 2024

 I think I feel a bit better today — and I have started the long climb back towards my Wordle winning streak. The next excitement will be in May, if I get that far. See below.

  I’ve started knitting the Calcutta Cup, and so far I think I’m knitting it the right way up and the right way around.

  Helen has been working here all day again. She says she is getting on well. Through her agency, a device for getting a wheelchair up and down our outdoor stairs (of which we have six) will be demonstrated to us on Wednesday. That’s an exciting prospect, as the days lengthen.

  I am reading Lucy Worsley’s biography of Agatha Christie, and would recommend it. One of the ladies who came to tea last Friday (was it?) brought it to me. I was interested to learn that there was a Wellingtonia in the garden where she grew up. I am devoted to that tree and have recently had one planted in Kirkmichael. The first seeds were brought to GB in the mid-nineteenth century, so little Agatha’s tree may have been one of the very first crop. Lucy W. went to the spot where the house had been — it is safe to deduce that there is no Wellingtonia there now. (Wellingtonia = California redwood)

   Wordle: I scored four. My starters gave me two green vowels. My first guess — line three — made it four greens and I thought, here we go again. But perhaps there were fewer options today. At any event, line four was right.

  The rest of us were spread all over the place. Roger was the only other four. Theo, Mark, Alexander and Ketki scored threes — the majority score. Poor Rachel took five, and today’s genius (as often) was Thomas with two.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

 I failed at Wordle today. Details below.

 I continue to feel somewhat subdued (although I think the failure at Wordle was just bad luck). 

  I got a bit of knitting done, but have paused. I’m knitting top-down, as you know, and trying to insert the Calcutta Cup and the date into a broad st st panel at navel height in the Spalding pattern. Once I get the pattern correctly established, the rest will be straightforward. But I’m not at all sure I have done that. It not only has to be the right way up, but also the right way around. See the baby blanket above for the parameters of the problem. 

  C. came to see me this morning. 

  Wordle: Lying in bed last night, I had a premonition of how my winning streak would end — and sure enough, I was right. My starters gave me two greens and two browns. My line three turned the browns green. Line four, line five and even line six went on guessing that fourth letter in vain.

   Theo, Ketki and Thomas all had similar difficulty, but weren’t nearly as inventive as I was — or much luckier — and escaped with fives.  Alexander was there too but managed a four. Mark was another five, but his problem was the second letter, not the fourth. 

   Roger did it in three, and Rachel — how  on earth? — in only two.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

 I’m feeling a bit subdued, as for the last couple of days. No symptoms, no excuse. No knitting, either. I have always rejoiced in having a hobby that could follow me so far along the downward slope. I hope this doesn’t mean I’ve hit bottom.  I’m ready to start knitting the Calcutta Cup into the Spalding sweater.  Chart updated, stitches counted.

    Helen has been here again, and got some indoor gardening done. The  sweet peas in my salad machine were already getting too tall and floppy. They each now have their own pot.  Helen hopes to grow them to maturity indoors. She says our sunny doorstep is too windy. I’m dubious.

   Wordle: a three for me at last. I’ve now got a winning streak of 60 in pursuit of a maximum streak of 67. Getting scary.

   Four was the majority score today —  Mark and Theo joined me with 3; Rachel needed 5

Friday, March 01, 2024

 Not time for much. We’ve had visitors. I’m exhausted.

 Thomas Kingston committed suicide. There were hints in some of yesterday’s reports.

  I was going to suggest to you that Israel seems to be working for Trump’s re-election. Then today I read that Trump and Netanyahu are pals. Maybe it’s true. Maybe Netanyahu is pushing Biden for every bullet and drone he can get, in the happy knowledge that he is making his re-election ever less certain. 

  Mostly threes and fours for Wordle today. Ketki and I both scored five. I found it very difficult and was delighted with my five.