First of all, many thanks to everyone who downloaded a copy of my novel The Cuckoo’s Nest when it was on a free promotion on Amazon last week. The book had some 2,000 downloads, sending it rocketing to number 1 in the free historical mysteries chart, and number 48 in the overall Amazon free chart. (Remember, if you’re one of those 2,000, and you enjoyed it, please add a review, however short; and of course, if you hated it, please have the good taste to keep it to yourself…)
Summer came to Caithness this weekend—cloudless skies, a flat calm on the ocean, breeze warm as a lover’s sigh—and brought with it the County Show, all the way to the bottom of our garden. You see, we live in a cul-de-sac which ends in fields, and across the road from us is another field, usually occupied by sheep, sloping gently to the river. My rather bucolic walk to work takes me down a lane through these fields and along the river, and in ten minutes I’m at the library (unless I get into a philosophical argument with a seagull, in which case anything goes).
Now the field was full of tents and marquees, for all the world as if Henry VIII had decided to make a state visit to Wick—always assuming Henry’s courtiers also drove tractors and enjoyed playing whack-a-mole. In fact, I hadn’t really appreciated the scale of the operation until I threw open the curtains on Saturday morning in a state of quite spectacular undress and found myself looking down on what must have been half the population of Caithness, and at the same time unwittingly recreated that scene in Life of Brian when our eponymous hero exposes himself—literally—to his followers.
I’m not really a fan of agricultural shows, feeling about them much the way the great Liverpool football manager did about his local rivals: “If Everton were playing at the bottom of my garden, I’d draw the curtains.” This was a bit like being subjected to psychological warfare by the American army, with pounding rock music and distorted screaming over the tannoy—the overall effect that of a cat suspected of heresy being tortured by the Inquisition to a soundtrack of Neil Diamond.
On the gansey, I’m nearly at the end of the first sleeve. The arm is about 18-18.5 inches long, and I decreased by 10% into the cuff. I plan to make the cuffs 3 inches long, and not make them double-length this time, since I’m not knitting the gansey for anyone in particular. Then it’s on to the second sleeve, and the whole finished by the end of August. Hopefully.
Speaking of ganseys, I got confirmation this week that I’ve wasted my life when Margaret found an add on Pinterest for made-to-order ganseys. The price per gansey? A mere £1,250, or $1,900. But then, I suppose, what is a reasonable price for a hand-knitted gansey…?