Tuesday, May 28, 2024

 We’re having a nice time. I’m reading Allingham and knitting the MKAL. I think I will have finished the first clue by the time the next is issued. The only other time I did an MKAL it was a Stephen-and-Penelope number and although I was stronger in those days I was perennially behind and in fact never finished it.

   Roger and sister-Helen are visiting the sights of Edinburgh in the intervals of visiting me.

   For actual reading, I’ve finished Dancers in Mourning (which is in the club) which I didn’t think much of, and have gone on to The Fashion in Shrouds (which is not) and for which I thank you, Kirsten. I actually wonder whether I’ve ever finished Dancers in Mourning before. The beginning was familiar. I’ve been there. I didn’t own it, unlike the others, and therefore had to buy it. Maybe I never finished it. 

   I’ve certainly read The Fashion in Shrouds before, and I remember it fairly well. I think Amanda is about to reappear. She’s pivotal in Traitor’s Purse, which comes next and which is the first (according to me) of Allingham’s truly greats. .

   Wordle: it’s fun having Roger here, who is a member of my little Wordle group. Sister-Helen stoutly refuses to join — I think she’d enjoy it — because she eschews competitiveness. I try to tell her that we’re not competitive, it’s just interesting to compare scores, and indeed never was there a game so remote from competition.

   I must apologise to any of you who have been reading my daily bulletins as competitive. 

Nothing much has happened lately. Threes and fours all round. My winning streak is now 21 or 22. Normal service will probably resume tomorrow, depending a bit on your response.   . 


Friday, May 24, 2024

 Sunshine is struggling forth this evening after another grey, damp day. Nothing much happened here. My sister and her husband — Roger and Helen — will be here tomorrow, eagerly awaited.

   I knit steadily on. I am on the verge of a point where I’ve got to knit quite a few successive rows in black. My eyes are failing. It won’t be easy. Otherwise all is going well. I’ve ordered an over-the-seat shelf on which I hope to locate my laptop computer and then at last I will post some pictures

  I finally finished “Look to the Lady”. I had misremembered the “unforgettable” McGuffin I referred to the other day. So much for me. It’s not terribly good, compared to what is to come. It contains the scene where the Bad Guy is about to kill the hero but first explains to him all that has been going on, and also the one in which the hero — who wasn’t killed after all — gathers the rest of the cast around and explains it all to them. When Allingham really got into her stride, she didn’t write such hackneyed scenes. 

   I’m now reading Dancers in Mourning. There was one — and it could still be this one; I don’t know it well — where Campion and Amanda cooperate before they are “together”. We haven’t seen anything of her since Sweet Danger.  No, it can’t be this one. And next on the club programme is Traitor’s Purse. So what was it? It involved an airplane, and a woman who worked in fashion.

   Wordle: the familiar pattern. My starters gave me two vowels, one brown, one green. My line three, arrived at after a struggle, made it three greens. I got it in four.

   And as in recent days, almost everyone else did better.  Ketki needed five, but the rest of the British team scored three. Silence from Mark — we’ve got a big holiday weekend here , too. In DC it was four for Roger and three for Theo.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

  No time for a proper post tonight, I fear. Steady rain all day. I’ve ordered a table to go over my chair and hold my computer. I’ve done some more knitting. Some nurses came and assessed my legs for compression stockings. I was tempted to sing to them, The toe-bone is connected to the foot-bone and the foot-bone is connected to the ankle-bone…but I refrained.

   Wordle: I started off much as yesterday, with a green and two browns. And proceeded much as yesterday, too, and wound up with four. But today most of the others got four, too. Three for Alexander, five for Rachel, four for the other four of us. In DC it was three for Theo and five for Roger.

   Roger and my sister will be here any minute — flying out tomorrow. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

 A dull, grey day. I didn't go out. I didn’t do much of anything, except knit. Ten rows of my MKAL shawl is very ambitious — too much, in fact. And the achievable number will continue to diminish. One can but knit on. The next clue is due on Wednesday the 12th. I won’t be finished with this first clue by then, but I’ll be forrader if I keep at it.

   I’ve just watched the Prime Minister call a general election. In the rain. I hope he wins and fear he won’t. I can’t vote, not being British. They say Mr Sunak is richer than the king. He could stay home and collect pictures and grow vegetables if he wanted to. Whereas the king is obliged to struggle on.

   Otherwise not much. C. came. 

   When I actually read, as opposed to dozing to Audible, I continue with Look to the Lady. It’s time I finished it and got on to Dancers in Mourning. 

   Thank you for your comments yesterday. You’re absolutely right, Cam and Knitnance, that I need a table with wheels which will fit across my chair. I got one for my husband when he was more or less at this stage of decline, but gave it away after his death. I’ll get on to that.

   Wordle: my starters produced a green vowel and two browns, a v. and a c. I struggled. I won. But my fully qualified word had four greens and a blank. A wordle special. Mercifully I got it in four.

   Most of the others did better. Thomas joined me on four. The rest of the British contingent all scored three. In DC, Roger had three and Theo four.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Not too bad a day, although chillier. I wasn’t required to go out. 

   I still haven’t solved the problem of accessing the laptop.computer. I’m too tired, first thing in the morning. There’s not time enough, between morning visitors and lunch. This time of day, between afternoon nap — essential, because the carer has 2-4 off —and supper, is also on the short side. What I need is a means of accessing the laptop when I am sitting in my chair in the sitting room.

   Helen came this morning and we got some paperwork done. It’s endless. Then the carer and I made a rather tasty soup for lunch out of some of the contents of the chill drawer. I can have more of that tomorrow.

   Knitting moved forward. (the MKAL associated with KD’s Summer of Mystery club) I sort of worked out that ten rows a day would probably be enough, and I’m sure I’m doing fewer than that, but at least I’m moving forward. I’m continuing to read Look to the Lady, a pre-war Allingham which doesn’t figure in the club (and which has an unforgettable McGuffin) but I’d better polish it off and get on to Dancers in Mourning if I don’t want to be left behind.

   Wordle: another real toughie, except for Thomas who polished it off in three. And not a word that everyone would know, I thought. My starters gave me three browns. After a titanic struggle — line three is the crux — I gave up and entered a Jean-word. It yielded another brown, and of course more positions in which one or another letter couldn’t appear. I hope I’m not giving too much away if I say that I  had one letter that could only be in position one or three; and another that had to be in one or five.

   The breakthrough was when I realised that neither had to be in the first place.

   Line four was fully qualified, but wrong. I got it in five. 

   Ketki and Alexander had fours.Rachel was with me on five. Six for Mark. Five for Theo in Dc, and the not-unusual silence from Roger.



Monday, May 20, 2024

 Another May day. Maybe the tide has turned. I got out this morning — it’s a struggle. Helen and the current carer and I  made a circuit of the garden and then walked along London Street to the roundabout and back. Not much else today, although I’ve done some knitting.

   I’m now repeating the colour sequence on the stripes — this is for KD’s Allingham MKAL. The rows are now seriously longer, but on the other hand the colour sequence is easily to be read from the first set. That saves a lot of anxious time looking up the pattern and figuring out where I am in it.

   We also have the next pattern — a jolly two-colour hat. It’s too complicated for me. And an essay about Little Venice, the part of London where our second book, Death of a Ghost, takes place. I can begin to think of re-reading the fourth, Dancers in Mourning. After that we move onto the war years and I am on more familiar ground.

   The essay was very good. kD has worked hard on all this. She was an academic before her stroke changed her life.

  Wordle: another toughie. My starters produced four browns. I thought of a really good word — can’t remember it now — perfect in every respect except that one of the brow letters hadn’t moved to a new place. I struggled on and finally thought of a dim possibility which at least was fully qualified. I typed it in. It was right. Three for me. 

   Ketki also had three. Four for Mark and Alexander. Five for Thomas and Rachel. Theo in DC was another three. Silence so far from his father Roger, as not infrequently.


Sunday, May 19, 2024

 And yet another May day. Helen and Fergus are safely back from their  overnight camping trip to Strathardle. They brought me pictures. Isn’t outdoors wonderful? Above all, isn’t May wonderful? 

   Little to report. I had another restless and uncomfortable night (sore hip, incipient bedsores on bottom — I have to sleep on my back— sore heels) and spent much of today sleeping in my chair to catch up. I’m never going to get out if I can’t get up some courage and stamina in the morning. Helen and the current carer are determined to get me out tomorrow.

   Knitting, however, went well. I finished the first repeat of the stripes on my MKAL shawl, and have advanced five rows into the second and much longer repeat. I should look up some of the stripes some of you must have posted by now. I am listening to an audiobook of Pride and Prejudice as I knit. Mercifully the reader does accents well.  Gosh, it’s good.

   C. came to see me, back from a successful visit to London.

  Wordle: four for me and Rachel and Mark (the day’s best score), five for Thomas, six for Alexander and Ketki. Five for Roger, six for Theo in DC. C. Isn’t a member of our little group, but we always compare Wordle scores when she comes to visit. She beat us all today — three.

   McPhee on Wordle in the New Yorker is only mildly interesting (see yesterday).  He doesn’t allow for those Wordle Specials — not infrequent — when you have three or four greens and too many possibilities and the result is pure luck. 


Saturday, May 18, 2024

 Another May day. I didn’t go out. More effort tomorrow? 

   Knitting went forward successfully. I shouldn’t have claimed the first run-through of the stripe sequence so boldly yesterday. I now have 10 rows left to do, and then the whole sequence again, which will obviously take much longer. (I’m talking about the Margery Allingham MKAL.)

   I think I actually took out a new subscription to the New Yorker yesterday in my eagerness to read the article about Lucy Letby. Now I will have to see if I can open it, to read McPhee on Wordle. I thinkhe came to see us once in New Jersey long ago — his father and mine had known each other in the Associated Press office in Detroit. But I may be muddled about that

   Little else to report. Helen came this morning, with her youngest son Fergus. They were on their way to Strathardle. They planned to strike off into the wilderness and camp somewhere tonight. They’ll

 call in tomorrow on their way back if they’re still alive. 

   Wordle: I would say it was a toughie again. My starters gave me a green and two browns. Line three put them in order — three greens — but added nothing new. Line four made it four greens. Line five was right.

   Rachel, Mark and Thomas were fellow-fives. Six for Ketki.  Alexander and the Americans Roger and Theo all had four which has to count as distinguished today. 


Friday, May 17, 2024

 Another proper May day, still with a touch of cool. I didn’t go out. We had a carer-handover, which my original agency (which is still in charge) does once a fortnight. Always slightly stressful.

   I knit industriously onwards. I am getting close — for those of you who are MKAL’ing with me — to the end of the first repeat of the colour sequence. The second repeat will be much slower, of course, as each right-side row adds two stitches and they soon add up.

   Jenny and Anonymous (comments yesterday): I certainly remember those shawls we knit. Was it called the Dathan Hap? I did it twice, and one of the results used to hang over the back of the very chair in which I sit. The trouble with being crippled is that you can’t take the few steps necessary even to look around the room. My feeling is that that yarn was slightly thicker than Milarrochy Tweed, more like sock yarn. Or I might have knit it from stash (unlike me). Anyway, on I go.

   Helen came this morning. Otherwise I don’t think there are any events to report from the Outer World. C. has been in London of late. She’s back now, and I’ll see her on Sunday.

   Wordle: a green and three browns from my starters. My first guess was a rather gloomy word, and it was wrong, but it got everybody into order — four greens. I got it in four.

It was the same for everybody else over here except Thomas, who needed five. Theo was another four. Silence so far (it’s sort of early) from Roger in DC and Ketki, usually a very early contributor.



Thursday, May 16, 2024

 A May day, at last! I didn’t go out, but I am enjoying it. 

   What I did was knit my MKAL. I’m getting on fine. It’s a plain-vanilla triangle, I think I said. The increases are on either side of a central 3-stitch strip. I’ve now got upwards of 30 stitches in each half and the rows take longer. I still don’t know where the pattern is — somewhere in Ravelry, clearly. But I’m having no difficulty in producing it every time. 

   I’ve never been wildly keen on tweed yarn. I wonder if I’ve ever knit with KD’s Milarochy Tweed before? For this purpose, it’s ideal. I’m enjoying the fabric being produced. I continue to be anxious about the thinness of the yarn. It’s going to take me more than the sliver of lifetime I’ve got left, to knit it all. I am knitting hopefully on, as EZ prescribed. 

   Helen came this morning. We are struggling with the paperwork involved in dropping our present carers in favour of somebody very substantially cheaper. I am a bit anxious.

   Wordle: my starters gave me one green vowel and two brown consonants. My line three turned that into three greens. Line four made no change. I was afraid that I was about to go down to a Wordle special. I thought of another qualifying word — not at all likely, I thought, but there was no reason not to try it. It was right. Five for me. Whew!

   That gets my new winning streak up to ten.

    Rachel had my same three-green configuration and squeaked home with six. Roger had a totally remarkable two. Mark had a splendidly commendable three. Thomas and Alexander and Theo had fours. Ketki was with me on five.



Wednesday, May 15, 2024

 A busy day. Grey this morning, brighter this evening. Helen came — disappointed when I wouldn’t go out.

  I was in a state of feverish anxiety this morning, waiting for the first MKAL clue. It finally came, and I have happily embarked on it — but I don’t know where it is. There is a message from KD that I can click on — there it is. But what’s its address? It doesn't seem to be in the KD section of my Ravelry library.

   It’s very easy, I am happy to report — a garter stitch triangle, beginning at the apex. The colours are working well. I cast on nine stitches. I’m now up to 33, and I hope to add more this evening. Alas, I don’t seem to have a functioning computer printer any more. I’d like to have it on paper.

   Today’s other excitement was the pursuit of the New Yorker article about Lucy Letby, the nurse convicted of killing all those babies. I have recently re-subscribed, but when I asked for that article it wouldn’t come up. I later learned that it has been withdrawn in Britain on the orders of the justice dept or some such. But Helen can get it! Rachel in London sent me a link that worked. I read it with intetest.

   Wordle: a toughie again. My starters gave me three browns. I struggled mightily, resisting Jean-words. I wound up with a perfectly legitimate word which achieved nothing but to add another brown. But the subsequent struggle wasn’t all that bad: four for me.

   However, that was undistinguished by today’s standards. Alexander joined me on four. Mark, Ketki and Thomas got it in three. Rachel and Roger and Theo all had totally brilliant twos.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

 A dull, grey day. I disappointed Helen by being unwilling to go out. I’ve promised to be more energetic tomorrow. I’ve felt limp all day.

   The MKAL begins tomorrow. That’s something to feel energetic about. Real-life knitting advanced somewhat today. Anonymous (comment yesterday) how I envy you, making your first acquaintance with Allingham. You ain’t seen anything yet.

   I’m afraid to read ahead on the club list, for fear of forgetting what I’ve already read before they are discussed. But I think there are some early, pre-war Campions not mentioned in the schedule which I could safely indulge in. 

   Kenji on salads turns out to be good. I am listening to him again in the hopes of picking up on the bits I slept through the first time. I didn’t know that you put mustard in a vinagrette to emulsify it — I thought it was just for flavour. The trouble is that I tend to drift off while he is discussing the different types of salad leaf — most of them unknown in Britain —  and miss the exposition of the different types of salad dressing.

   Wordle: distinctly tough again today. My starters gave me two greens. My guess at line three added another. And there I stuck for a long time, near despair. Then I found a possibility, and it was right.  Four for me.

    It was the same score for all the rest of us in GB except for Thomas, who scored three. Theo was another four. Nothing from Roger yet.

Monday, May 13, 2024

 A less-good day than the two preceding , but dry, at least, and the carer and I got out all by ourselves (=of course, her strenuous efforts) and we got to the butcher’s. The place has been fancied up a good deal since I was last there. But there I was, with a kent face behind the counter. It was wonderful.

   I asked him about wagyu. They had some, frozen, labelled “Japan” without any further detail. It was wonderfully marbled (as wagyu should be) and cost twice or three times as much as the steaks I gave those boys last Thursday (which weren’t wonderfully marbled). Maybe one day.

  After all that, as I sank gratefully down in my chair, my carer said she was feeling ill and was leaving. A replacement arrived promptly. Helen is switching us to another, much cheaper company. Will they be able to handle these not-infrequent crises as seamlessly?

  Knitting moved forward, slowly. 

   Thank you for your helpful comments about diet (comments, Saturday). Protein: I have an egg for breakfast every day. Mindful Chef, which feeds me three or four days each week, is strong on balanced diet. I tend to shy away from pulses. My sister — three and a half years younger by the calendar, but seeming more like 20 — will be here next week. I will consult her.

   And I take a strong daily dose of vitamin D.

   Thank you for your Mother’s Day wishes yesterday, too. And, Eileen, thank you for agreeing that KD has put an extraordinary amount of research and energy and creativity into her current Margery Allingham club. She richly deserved her happy surprise when we signed up in droves for the MKAL. First clue this week, I think.

   Wordle:  my starters gave me two greens plus a brown vowel. I struggled mightily to think of anything. I would have been grateful for a Jean-word, but the two greens made it difficult. Eventually I thought of a possible English word. Not at all likely, but it qualified. I typed it in. It was right. Three for me.

Thomas, Mark, Theo and Roger were my fellow-threes, although I wouldn’t have said the word had an American slant. Four for Ketki and Rachel. Five for Alexander. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

I seem to have managed to delete an almost-complete post. I will re-do it, but it will lack a certain spontaneity. I must get back to my laptop in the catalogue room.
     I didn’t get out today — another fine May day, with a burst of rain at the end. But if tomorrow isn’t much worse, I mean to attempt to go shopping on Broughton Street. I quite enjoy shopping. 

     Sleep was curtailed again last night. I spent most of today dozing while listening to Kenji (see yesterday). I’m glad I didn’t buy the book. A disproportional amount of it, it seems to me, is devoted to cooking beef. I don’t do that very often. He says, at the end of a chapter on roasts, that Americans don’t eat lamb very much (and actually import some of that little from Australia), why so? I loved lamb chops when I was growing up, and regarded them as a great treat.
   The promised essay from KD turned up this morning. How hard she has worked on this, quite apart from designing knitwear! This essay is about Tolleshunt d’Arcy, the village in Essex where Allingham lived. The house looks much more substantial than I expected. Allingham’s husband never provided much support. And there were also a number of hangers-on, and their horses. For some years there were also a handful of elderly relatives in a nursing home over the way. Margery Allingham and Albert Campion bore the whole burden, not without anxiety.
   My own knitting moved forward at its usual snail’s pace. I’ve finished the decreases on the first Spalding sleeve, and made a guess at how much more I’ll do before the cuff. Top-down, remember.
   Wordle: I got all five letters from my two starters this morning.  I could not think of ANY word that fit. I finally gave up and put in a Jean-word — two letters wrong. That yielded no greens, but at least for the three letters I had used rightly, I now knew one more position in which each of them couldn’t be. The succeeding struggle was fairly brief. Four for me.
   Three for Mark and Thomas. Four for Ketki and Rachel. Five for Alexander and Theo. Six for Roger.


Saturday, May 11, 2024

 Another May day.  God hasn’t forgotten how to do it. If it continues another day, I’ll go out, no matter how badly I sleep tonight.  That problem remains to be solved. If lying awake and uncomfortable involved some means of locomotion, I could try going to the window and peering out in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. But it doesn’t. I’m stuck. 

   Knitting has progressed, however slowly. I did get the balls of yarn for KD’s MKAL  labelled with their letters, A to E. I had forgotten that Milarochy Tweed involves a generous admixture of alpaca. That’s going to be nice to knit. But even if it’s garter stitch all the way, it looks like there’s going to be a lot of it. We shall see. I finished another skein for the Spalding today, too —  that always feels like progress.

   And I continued listening to Kenji. Today it was mostly a chapter about cooking meat. He went on and on and on about beef. If he mentioned lamb at all, I slept through it. Pork came in briefly, and chicken only slightly more. My diet is very low on meat these days, and I trust my butcher — that is, I utterly trust his sausages. I sometimes eat lamb cutlets or even chops. But that’s about it. So that chapter was of small interest. I woke up in the middle of one on vegetables, and have gone back to the beginning of it. But Edinburgh potatoes are not  California potatoes.

Wordle: a lucky three for me today. My starters gave me a green consonant and two brown vowels. It was a considerable struggle to think of any qualifying word, and when I did, it didn’t seem at all likely. But I typed it in, and it was right.

   Mark and Thomas joined me at the head of the class. Rachel, Alexander, Ketki andTheo had four. Five for Roger.

Friday, May 10, 2024

 A beautiful spring day. I didn’t go out — too tired and sleepy. I must somehow contrive a better night’s sleep, at night in my bed, if this most glorious moment of the year is to be appreciated.

  The yarn for KD’s MKAL has arrived, as I confidently predicted it would. Sometime between now and next Wednesday I must label each ball A-E. Since I have bought a pre-selected colourway (called Jeanette, I think) all I have to do is find the page on which it is described. I am sure the pattern., when it arrives, will express itself in terms of letters.

  I have stumbled upon the perfect book for napping to — J. Kengi Lopez-Alt’s “The Food Lab”. Audible makes it available on its Free list, which is a good start. I am a big Kenji fan on Youtube. This book tells you everything you need to know about the science of cooking. But if you fall asleep during the list of Essential Kitchen Kit (an instant-read digital meat thermometer is top) and wake up during How to Cook an Egg, there’s no great difficulty in picking up the thread. Perhaps when I finish, I’ll start again, and hope to catch the bits I missed this time.

   I’ve nearly finished Allingham’s “Flowers for the Judge”. Far from her best. There I’ll leave it, until we move on in the club — staying two titles ahead, but only two,  in the hopes of remembering what I’ve recently re-read.

   Wordle: three vowels again from my two starters — horror, horror. I struggled mightily but finally put a Jean-word in line three. One of my brown vowels was in its original position. It was useful, as Jean-words often are. I now had a brown consonant. I got it on line four.

   Thomas and Mark were today’s stars with three. Rachel, Ketki, Theo and Roger joined me at four. Five for Alexander.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

 The wagyu was a disappointment. That’s where I’ll start. Archie and Fergus ate it nobly and said thank you, like well-brought-up young men. Mine has largely been thrown away — too tough. If I ever try again, I will hold out for imported Japanese. I had also ordered some cheese from the Fine Cheese Company — I’ve used them before — and that was sensationally good so all was not lost.

   Good weather. Has May started at last?

   And news from KD: my package has been dispatched. That will be the yarn for the MKAL. I thot they’d get it here in time.  Clue One is scheduled for next Wednesday.

 But I”ve done no actual knitting, what with spending the morning on anxious preparation for my little lunch party, and sleeping it off in the afternoon. I’m sleeping badly these days in bed at night — aching hip, incipient bedsores on my bottom, heavy, affectionate cat on my chest. My hip doesn’t allow me to turn onto one side or the other. So by day I sleep in my chair.

   I forge ahead with “Flowers for the Judge”.  Perhaps significantly, it is unusually, for Allingham, in the format of a conventional thriller. I’ll get it finished in time for its appearance in KD’s club, I’m sure. And it’s here in my Kindle library, so I must have read it before. I don’t remember much of it — perhaps significantly.

   Wordle: a toughie today. My starters gave me two browns, a v. and a c. I could think of a million Jean-words for every line, but genuine entries were harder to come by. Success in the end: six.

   Ketki was a fellow-six. Fives for Thomas, Mark, and Rachel. Four for Alexander — that counts as brilliant, today. Except that Theo scored an even more brilliant three. Roger had another five. At least nobody failed as could so easily have happened.



Wednesday, May 08, 2024

 A day of what might be called mixed weather — sunshine and shade. That’s progress, I think.

  However, I haven’t time for such fripperies. Tomorrow Archie and his brother Fergus are coming to lunch and we’re eating wagyu. It has been delivered and disappoints slightly in the amount of marbling. We’re also having some nice cheese to finish with, and that has been delivered too. I have but to make a salad and cut up some potatoes for oven chips.

   I’m not making much progress with “Flowers for the Judge”. I  must press on. I have been listening to an Audible “Tiger in the Smoke” while napping, despite the reader’s irritating voices. It’s a good book.

  And knitting moves slowly forward. I have one more sleeve decrease to do, and then a certain amount of sleeve before the cuff. I may shorten it somewhat. But I still hope to have it finished before KD’s MKAL starts.

Wordle: three for me. My two starters yielded three v’s and a c. I stuck with it until I thought of a possible word, and it was right. Mark was the only other three. Fours for Alexander and Ketki. Five for Rachel.No news from Thomas yet.

   Similarly in DC -  nothing from Theo. Roger got four. 



Tuesday, May 07, 2024

 Another grey day. This is getting ridiculous.

   Several visitors this morning, including Helen. No knitting. Limpness this afternoon with the same result.

   I am sorry, Elaine and Anonymous (comment yesterday) that I spoiled “Traitor’s Purse” for you by revealing that Campion and Amanda wind up going off to get married. Don’t give up: there’s lots more in the book than that. I’ll make it worse: Campion, at the beginning, is in a hospital and can’t remember even who he is — no spoiler there; it’s right at the beginning. He has the sense that he has something important to do; that’s all.

At some point early on, the clouds part enough that he recognises her and knows her name. “Amanda”, he says. It is my favourite love scene in all of Eng Lit. That’s all there is to it: Amanda.

    But that still leaves the book, and its brilliant McGuffin. I’ve probably said here too often that Allingham was criticised for it  when the book was published, during the war, as being too far-fetched. And then afterwards it turned out that the Germans had the same idea. I don’t know why they failed.

Wordle: tough sgain.  I scored four. My starters gave me two v’s and a c, all brown. I struggled forcquite a while, and finally put a Jean-word in line three. That yielded another brown vowel, and useful information about where letters couldn’t go. But I was lucky to get it in four. There were other possibilities, Wordle-fashion. But mercifully I hit it.

   A spread of results elsewhere.  A brilliant two for Alexander. Three for Thomas. Four for Ketki.  Five for Rachel. Six for Mark — who got mired in the “other possibilities” I mentioned above. The DC contingent, Roger and Theo, both scored five.


Monday, May 06, 2024

 Grey, again — but the forecast is better. This is really a bit depressing.

   Lots of quiet event. Knitting went well. I’ve got two more decreases to do on the Spalding sleeve, and I’m halfway to the first of them. 

   KD’s club began as promised. The first pattern is a sweetie — a short-sleeved, short-waisted little loose-fitting jumper for popping on over a dress, or wearing over an impressive shirt, on a slightly-in-between summer’s day, of which we have many. Named for Amanda.

   I enjoyed the first essay, too, about the electric cars of the late 19th c.  Amanda had resurrected one when we first meet her, and was driving it about on power she generated at the family mill. 

  I’ve already re-read the second book, Death of a Ghost, and now feel free to embark on the third, Flowers for the Judge.

  I read an interview with JKRowling this morning. She had the relationship between Cameron Strike and what’s-her-name planned from the beginning. So must Allingham have done, to some extent, with Campion and Amanda. She appears in Sweet Danger and then disappears for a while, although a future alignment is clearly promised. Except  that no author could have anticipated WWII, the necessary background to Traitor’s Purse at the end of which they go off and get married.

   And, oh! I’ve had an email from Melanie Read, hoping that I read her article!

  Helen and David came this morning, on their way to the airport to send him back to Thessaloniki. He is getting pretty tired of this life but doesn’t want to retire while all three sons are relatively unsettled.

   Wordle: a Wordle classic today — four greens and you could keep guessing until the cows come home. Rachel and I failed; Ketki, Alexander and Mark scraped home with sixes; four for Thomas.

    In DC, it was five for Theo and a totally brilliant three for Roger. Everybody except Theo wound up with my conundrum: four greens, and the fourth slot empty. 

Sunday, May 05, 2024

 Grey again, although there are gleams of sunshine this evening as the day subsides. We need a bit more May.

   The Alexander Mileses came to see me. Ketki left her husband here and went on to St Andrews to fetch Jade. They were back in good order as a unexpected amount of cleaning and packing had been done before Ketki got there.

   Knitting progressed well, including another decrease round. I began to feel for the first time that I will finish this sleeve. If so, I’ll finish the sweater. I have never suffered from Second Sleeve/Sock Syndrome. I’m glad I knit the somewhat tedious collar first. The pattern does it the other way around.

   KD’s new club is scheduled to begin tomorrow — at last — with a pattern. The first MKAL clue won’t be until Wednesday of the following week. I suspect my yarn will have been delivered by then. And also that that first sleeve (see above) might be finished.

   Wordle: the usual struggle today, although fairly brisk. My starters yielded only two brown vowels (horror, horror). However, a relatively brief struggle produced a possible word — harder than it might sound — which, although wrong, turned one of the vowels green and yielded two brown consonants. I got it from there: four.

    Alexander and Theo were tops, with three. Thomas, Ketki and Rachel joined me with four. Mark and Roger needed five.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

 A good day, although grey. Helen and David came and we got over to the garden again. It looked as though the gardener was about to cover the paths with loose stones. If it happens, it would prevent my going there. There was no gardener about to remonstrate with, just sacks of pebbles.  A few had already been deployed in a particularly damp patch.

   Mild excitement: I emailed my favourite columnist a few days ago. She is in a wheelchair since falling from her horse ten years or so ago. Melanie Read. I asked her to write about fashion for the wheelchair-user, or at least advice on what-to-buy. “I have been asked by some readers…” she says today, followed by a most useful article, with addresses, which I have saved of course and will re-read carefully and often. It is in the Magazine section of today’s Times.

   I think she is slightly more mobile than I am, but has the use of only one hand.

   I’ve got two, and got knitting to the very verge of the next decrease round. Each such round eliminates four stitches and their lack is beginning to be felt.

   It can’t be long now until Kate Davies’ club actually starts. I am keeping myself going by reading Tom Lake by Ann Patchett and by listening to Avocado Anxiety by Louise Grey as I nap or knit.

   Wordle: another five for me. My starters landed me with three vowels, two browns and a green. I was completely baffled. I resorted to Jean-words for both line three (omitting one of the vowels) and line four — this time everybody was there, but one of the brown vowels hadn’t changed position. Jean-words aren’t entirely useless when I’m desperate.

   Mark got three (that counts as brilliant, today). Rachel. Thomas, Roger and Ketki were fours. Alexander and Theo joined me on five.


Friday, May 03, 2024

 The foray into the outside world went well. Our new machiine does its job well, getting me up and down the six stone steps between our front door and the pavement.

   There were some unforeseen difficulties, starting with the step between the front hall and the front step. Once that has been surmounted and I am on the pavement in a wheelchair, next is the problem of how to get across to the garden. The road is cobbled. So is the pavement on the garden side. So it makes sense to stay on this side until one is opposite the garden gate. But if you do that, there is no easy way to get down or up the curb.

   And the garden itself is, so to speak, tipped, so that the simplest circuit involves an appreciable uphill bit.

  My carers surmounted all this. All I had to do was sit there. But it has left me exhausted.

  Knitting has progressed. I’ve done another decrease round on the first sleeve. This pattern looks easy (Brooklyn Tweed’s Spalding) but it isn’t. I would almost say that it’s too much for me in my old age.  I hope KD is planning something really easy for our MKAL.

  Thank you for your comments yesterday. I am sure my children like having me around, too. But money would be nice for them as well. 

  Wordle: five again for me. The starters produced three browns, two v.’s and a c. I struggled for quite a while and then made a mistake in line 3 — it was fine except that one of the browns was still in its original position. It didn’t help much either. Line four was much better.

   Roger shared my five. Theo and Rachel and Alexander were the fours. Three for Ketki and Mark. A most uncharacteristic silence from Thomas.


Thursday, May 02, 2024

 A busy day, learning how to get me up and down the front steps with our new magic wheelchair.  I didn’t participate. I’ll have a go tomorrow if the weather holds — for we have had something like a May day and it would be grand to visit Drummond Place Gardens if that happens again. 

  Knitting went forward well. I haven’t reached the next sleeve decrease, but I”m not far off. I now know how to start a new needle with a sl1 yo without either winding the yarn round and round the needle or not winding it at all or purling the stitch. Slip the stitch purlwise, and finish that manoeuvre completely before putting the yarn over, is the answer which all of you probably know anyway.

   We’ve been having a lot of agitation here recently about assisted dying. I feel sad and uneasy because I have reached a pretty thoroughly useless stage of life and am spending a great deal of money I would rather leave to my children, on my care. But what I want to say at this point is that I am old enough to remember when abortion was legalised and then, too, we were assured about safeguards and two doctors being involved and such. It doesn’t last.

   Wordle: five for me today. It was exactly as I told you yesterday. My starters gave me a green vowel and two browns — a v. and a c. A brief struggle, a perfectly plausible word — but it was wrong. It did provide four greens, however. I guessed wrong for the missing letter (in the fourth position) on line four. Rachel was another five, with the same configuration.

   Roget and Theo had it, too, but were luckier. Three for Roger, four for Theo. Meanwhile, over here, Alexander scored a brilliant two, Thomas and Mark were threes, Ketki a four.



Wednesday, May 01, 2024

 May Day. Grey and dull. Will this never end? Tomorrow we are going to have a lesson in getting up and down the six front steps in my new, expensive magic stair-climbing wheelchair. Once that has been achieved I can go across to the garden.

Not much knitting. Such as there was, straightforward. I finished reading “Death of a Ghost” and now must switch to something completely different until KD’s club actually starts.

Helen came for a while this morning. It’s wonderful having her back from Kirkmichael. She couldn’t find the trowel to perform a necessary operation on the doorstep, namely potting on some sweet peas that I’ve grown indoors. Home looks familiar, as I sit here in my wheelchair, but other people are operating it and I don’t know where they have put my trowel.

Another thing I have grown indoors is tomatoes. They are coming into flower. The RHS and Alexander agree that I don’t have to worry about pollinating them. I have recently started some chilli seeds in my salad factory but they are disappointingly slow to do anything.

Wordle: three for me. The procedure is the same every day. My two starters, TRAIN and HOUSE. Then an agonising struggle, usually, to think of any word that fits the result. I don’t allow myself a Jean-word unless it’s getting near lunch-time and I’m desperate. Sometimes, like today, line three is right. More often it isn’t. Today I had the glory of being the only cis-Atlantic three. Four for Ketki, Rachel and Mark; five for Alexander and his son Thomas. C. was here this morning — she was another three, and we enjoyed feeling a bit smug together.

  Now Roger has logged in from DC with yet another three. No news from Theo.