First of all, I should apologise for the sudden drop in quality of this week’s pictures and blog generally. This is not, as you would suspect, because we have outsourced the blog to Taiwan; but because Margaret has a court order requiring her to be allowed to go away and enjoy herself at least once a year, which seems only fair, and so she’s off to the Continent for a few weeks.
She’s taken her camera with her, so it’s just me and my iPhone: which is why the gansey looks as if it’s suddenly turned aquamarine overnight, as if cursed by an evil godmother who’s also colour-blind.
After finishing off the first cuff I spent a couple of days in denial, refusing to pick up the stitches around the other armhole like a 12 year-old who won’t get out of bed because there’s a test at school. I’m trying to develop a scale to reflect my reluctance to pick up stitches: at the moment it rates slightly worse than doing the ironing, but better than a trip to the dentist.
How so be it, I finally manned up and of course it wasn’t so bad, and now I’m on the home straight, with the finish line in sight—sometime around the end of August, hopefully.
It’s been a hard old week at work: there’s a room in an empty industrial unit in Wick that’s been used to store old Council records which has to be cleared, so, with my colleague on holiday just now, I’ve been doing an hour there each morning, sorting what I need to keep and carting it to the office, then going home for a shower and a change of clothes, and then back to work again to open up for the public.
I know that, from reading these blogs, you’d think archives was a glamorous, exciting world of fast cars and high living. And, of course, so it is, normally (only with old records in place of the cars). But sometimes, like this week, just me in an abandoned old building, full of dirt and darkness and spiders and strange noises, it’s kind of squalid.
I remember once when we were rescuing some old records from a shed in Wales and another colleague reached up to pull down a box from a shelf, and a spider ran over his hand and disappeared up his sleeve. The results were fascinating to watch, really: first he sort of spasmed, like someone touching an electric fence; and then he began to wriggle, as if showing what a speeded up time-lapse film of a mime artist might look like—all the time making high-pitched squeals like a pig being sucked into space through an airlock very slowly.
Archivists: the unsung heroes. (Where’s my movie, Clint?)
My Victorian murder mystery The Cuckoo’s Nest continues to do pretty well on Amazon, better than any of my other books at the same stage, in fact: I guess crime really does pay, as the saying goes. So thanks to everyone who’s downloaded or bought it. Hope you like it. I’m not going to write a sequel—I think my poor characters have earned the right to an undisturbed happy ending—well, I say happy—but I may write another Victorian mystery if this one continues to do well.
There won’t be a blog next week: as I shall be away myself, feeling that I rather deserve a holiday at this point, and I won’t be taking my knitting. I’m heading south to England, where, like Paul Simon, my heart lies, or, if not my heart, the memory of my youth and full head of hair (“Ou sont les follicles d’antan?”, as François Villon once said). So the next blog will probably be live for 11 August.
See you then!