You may recall that our poor old car developed a fault over Christmas. The car’s an automatic, and basically the problem is this: you’re bowling along at a jaunty 40 or 50 miles per hour, with nothing on your mind but your hair oil when suddenly, with no warning, the whole car slams to a near stop and drops into second gear, while the instrument panel lights up as though announcing a nuclear meltdown.
I was once a passenger in a car that ran into a deer, and the sensation is almost identical—except in our case we don’t have to get out and pick antlers out of the radiator—but perhaps it most closely resembles the rapid deceleration you see when a jet plane lands on an aircraft carrier and is snagged by that giant rubber band. (The sensation a pilot has that his morning coffee and scrambled eggs are about to precede the rest of him into the windscreen is also, I imagine, rather similar.)
Well, we took it to the garage in Inverness last week and the diagnosis is more or less terminal—the cost of getting it fixed is over twice the value of the car. So now there’s nothing for it but to load the shotgun while the poor thing’s back is turned, take it for a last run in the fields and put it out of its misery. And then, brushing away a manly tear, go and find a replacement.
When I close my eyes and try to picture a used car dealer, the image that presents itself is of the weasels from Who Framed Roger Rabbit; and if you want a preview of what’s about to happen when I enter the showroom, imagine the scene from a nature documentary where slavering hyenas separate an elderly wildebeest from the rest of the herd.
Meanwhile, I knit. I have finally reached the point where I’ve divided front and back, having completed the underarm gussets. It feels like it’s taken forever, but it’s only been a couple of months and, now I think of it, I’m almost at the halfway stage—the end may not be in sight, but neither is the beginning. (As Stephen Dedalus observes in Ulysses: Life is many days. This will end.)
Finally this week, congratulations to Victoria in finishing this splendid gansey based on that of Richard Searle of Polperro on pages 124-129 of Rae Compton’s book. (Her picture is, as she admits, a little blurred—no doubt the camera shook with the emotion of finishing, as opposed to my usual excuse of cooking sherry mixed with paracetamol—but it’s still clear enough to see the pattern.) So well done to Victoria—and it’s good to know that gansey knitting is alive and well in the Azores.
I’m now off to pack a spare shirt for my car-buying expedition, as I’m sure I’ll emerge without the one on my back. (Now I come to think of it, I’m pretty sure it’s not a good sign when you get buyer’s remorse before you even purchase something…)