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Buckie: 20 March

Bu160320-1Nationalism is something of an alien concept to me: as someone born in New Zealand of English and Scottish parents, with an American wife, who has lived most of his adult life in England, Wales and Scotland I have, it’s fair to say, divided loyalties. (Except of course when it comes to rugby and movies involving hobbits, two areas in which my homeland leads the world.)

But I’ve been feeling obscurely proud to be British this week. I’ve been reading up on the Second World War, and—apart from the obvious heroism and sacrifice of so many people from all countries—I’ve been struck at the way the British character keeps revealing itself. I mean, would any other nation’s soldiers on capturing a town in Normandy stop and, before putting up any defences or establishing picket lines, sit down for a cup of tea, as the 7th Armoured Division did at Villers-Bocage?

Bu160320-2Stephen Ambrose (author of “Band of Brothers”) recounts how when the British and Germans were fighting in Tunisia in 1943 the commanders of each side came to a civilised agreement: they would radio each other with the names of any prisoners taken that day so the families could be notified; and no fighting would take place after 5 pm.


River foam

One day the German commander discovered that his men had captured a British supply truck after the 5 pm watershed. He ordered them to return it, but it was too late: the goods had vanished. Knowing his enemy he hastily contacted Rommel and cunningly suggested that his unit be sent on a reconnaissance mission at once. Rommel agreed: sure enough, the next night the unit that had replaced his in the line had two of their supply trucks stolen by the British…


We had a tree removed this week

Well. I’ve been cracking on with the gansey this week, and have, somewhat to my surprise, finished the first sleeve. It’s about 19 inches in length, 96 stitches at the cuff, and I’ve made the cuff 5 inches long so that the recipient can adjust it to suit, i.e., just in case I got the measurements wrong (paranoid much?). I just have to—sigh—pick up the stitches around the other armhole, and then it should just be a matter of 3 more weeks’ knitting, a week to wash and block it, and we are outta here.

Incidentally I do have another reason to feel the sin of pride in my adopted country this week. The Natural Environment Research Council has invited the public to vote on a name for its new £200 million research vessel. Usually these ships are named after famous explorers or naturalists—the David Attenborough, say, or the Henry Worsley—but the current frontrunner name is, I am delighted to say, the rather wonderful “RSS Boaty McBoatface”… Isn’t that great? Vote early and vote often is my advice.

We’re taking a break next week for Easter (and to get over the shock of the clocks going forward)—our next post will be on Monday 4th April. See you then!

9 comments to Buckie: 20 March

  • Laura Kilner

    This is so nice. Could you give me just the pattern repeats so I can work this into a sweater for me? What colour is this. Love your Blog Margaret and Gordon x


    • Gordon

      Hi Laura, and thank you! You can see the pattern chart here, at http://www.ganseys.com/buckie-10-january-2016/

      Of course, you can make the diamonds larger or smaller to suit your own preferences. I made them a little bigger to fit the number of stitches I needed; the beauty of the pattern is that each pattern band changes after every 2nd row, so you always know where you are; plus the trellis-y pattern has the added advantage that every 2nd row is just plain knit, so it’s not quite as fiddly as it seems!

  • Lois

    You can indeed feel proud, Gordon. “Boaty McBoatface” has even made the headlines on national Canadian TV news. It’s right up there with the forthcoming new government’s budget, President Obama’s visit to Cuba and the local university winning the national men’s hockey championship.

    You knew that hockey would inevitably be in the news, didn’t you.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lois, there’s a fundamental contradiction in the British character, I think—this is after all the country that gave the world both the “stiff upper lip” and Monty Python…

      If the research vessel doesn’t get the name, I’m starting a campaign to rename the royal yacht Britannia as Boaty McBoatface—or failing that, one of the Queen’s corgis at least!

  • Julie

    With all of your reading and voting, is it reasonable to wonder whether or not you have a ghost knitter?
    Victoria, BC, Canada

    • Gordon

      Hi Julie. I’ve explained before that I sold the blog to a multinational corporation years ago—the person who knits, writes the blog and responds to comments is in fact no longer me, but is instead a call centre somewhere in Mumbai staffed by a team of 30 people…

      • Judit Mäkinen

        Happy You 🙂
        Have sunny Easter holidays !

        • Gordon

          Yes, Judit, and I got this handful of magic beans in exchange (all I had to give them was my prize cow, a bargain I thought). I planted them in the back garden but for some unaccountable reason nothing’s come up yet…

          And a very happy Easter to you too. Alas, I’ve seen the forecast and don’t plan to get out of bed!

  • Laura Kilner

    I have bookmarked buckie. Thank you so much. Always enjoy your blog. Hope Spring arrives sooner than later! Cheers

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