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Buckie: 28 February


Ye Back

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate one of the highlights of the cultural calendar. No, not the Oscars—I speak, of course, of the Oddest Book Title of the Year Award.

If you’re new to this, it all started back in 1978 when the immortal classic Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice was spotted at a Frankfurt book fair. Since then it has included such gems as How to Avoid Huge Ships, How to Poo on a Date, Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, and Bombproof Your Horse.


Snowy boardwalk at Camster Cairns

But if I had to choose my all-time favourite I’d have to stick with 2003’s winner, The Big Book Of Lesbian Horse Stories, which alas turns out, disappointingly, not to be concerned with the question of equine sexuality. (In fact, I strongly advise you to look it up on both the US and UK Amazon stores—it’s inspired some of the funniest reviews I’ve come across, some of them from horses.)

I’m a little disappointed in this year’s entries—I think to be eligible the titles should be unintentionally funny, so Transvestite Vampire Biker Nuns From Outer Space, which is all about cult films, shouldn’t really count—but Soviet Bus Stops and Paper Folding with Children are at least worthy contenders.


Pilot House, Wick


Snowdrops in Snow

Meanwhile, I was off work for most of last week with a nasty cold, the kind that leaves you gasping for breath if you do anything as strenuous as brushing your teeth. I went round wheezing like Keir Dullea playing an astronaut in 2001: A Space Odyssey (at one stage it got so bad that Margaret took to following me round the house, singing “Daisy, Daisy” at me slowly in a deep bass voice).

Standing up was problematical, sitting less so: and so I got a lot of knitting done. I finished the back of the body and the shoulder strap and am now over halfway up the front, and will soon be dividing for the neckline. There often comes a time on a gansey when you feel like you’re slogging on forever and hardly making progress, and then suddenly it all starts to come together in a rush: that’s what happened last week. It is, in a manner of speaking, all downhill from here.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find a book to read. But which one? At the moment I’m torn between The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America and Reusing Old Graves. Decisions, decisions…

12 comments to Buckie: 28 February

  • lorraine

    Gordon- Hope you are feeling better. But there is an upside, all that enforced laying around is great for getting your knitting done.

    My other half has that book “How to poo at work”- he does love potty humour.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lorraine, yes, am feeling better, thanks, though if the cold takes as long to go as it did to arrive it’ll be around for a couple of weeks. But at least I’ve got my head back, which is a big step forward. (If only my body would follow suit…)

      I notice that one of the previous winners was called “Cooking With poo”, which again I felt shouldn’t have counted as “Poo” is Thai for crab, or something, and was the nickname of the foreign chef who wrote the book—and so not nearly as exciting as it sounded!

  • Lynne

    LOVING this gansey! Can’t wait for the blocked version where the true beauty will be revealed.

    • Gordon

      Hello Lynne, well, on past form it’ll be about 7 weeks till it’s blocked, if you can hang on till then! But I must admit, when the light catches it just so, I do stretch it out by hand to remind me of what it’s going to look like! (Soon I’ll have to decide if I’m going to continue the pattern all the way down the arms to the cuffs, or stop at the elbow, too…)

      • Judit M/ Finland

        Hello Gordon,
        Hope your cold is over.
        The gansey looks very fine. Well, I think that as you started the pattern just above the welt, you should continue it all way down to the cuffs. If the pattern were only in the yoke, you may stop at the elbow. If….

        • Gordon

          Hello Judit, ah now that’s interesting—I tend to go with your way of thinking but I notice that the ganseys on the Flamborough Marine website have full-body patterns but only patterns on the upper arms. Depends how lazy I feel at the time, perhaps!

  • Jane

    What a nasty winter it has been, all the rain and mud and the cloudy dull cold, incredibly cold, I can only speak for the South here. It is no wonder there are colds around! Hope you feel a good deal better soon!

    Meanwhile, super progress on the gansey. I do so admire the pattern, so textured, and such a good colour. Take care!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, and thank you. There is, I can honestly say, a lot of it about—everyone I know has a cold, or is just getting over one!
      But it is meteorological spring now, I understand, and St David’s Day to boot, so spring is almost upon us—this latest bout of bad weather feels like sour grapes on the part of winter. Balmy climes are almost upon us (or upon you, anyway—we don’t really do balmy here in Caithness!).

      • =Tamar

        I think you do a certain amount of balmy in Caithness…

        • Gordon

          Ha! PG Wodehouse once wrote a book called “Barmy in Wonderland” (about poor dear Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps’s adventures in Hollywood), and I did once consider it as the title for this website… Come to think of it, why the hell didn’t I?

  • Sharon in Surrey

    Sorry to hear you’re under the weather, but the Gansey is sure looking good. I really like the pattern & can’t wait to see it when it’s done. Get well soon & I hope you find some really good badly titled books!! LOL

    • Gordon

      Thank you, Sharon. In fact I am currently considering 2015’s selection, which includes such gems as Advanced Pavement Research, Where Do Camels Belong?, and the all-time classic, How To Divorce A Real Witch.

      The world, when you stop to think about it, is really a very strange place indeed…

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