Bertie Wooster once complained of Jeeves that “Round about the beginning of July each year he downs tools, the slacker, and goes off to Bognor Regis for the shrimping.”
It’s exactly like that with Margaret, only instead of Bognor she heads for the south of France, and rather than shrimping she lazes around the pool with other members of the beau monde, sipping cocktails and eyeing up the bar staff before hazarding the mortgage at the roulette tables. (Possibly. Or, on the other hand, possibly not.)
The biggest challenge when this happens is remembering that I’m cooking for one. So I unconsciously put twice as much coffee as I need in the cafetiere, and am left with eyes as wide as Bugs Bunny’s and a tendency to finish other people’s sentences; I also seriously underestimate pasta, with its remarkable capacity to expand like an inflatable life raft, and I end up so full I find myself bouncing down the stairs like a beach ball, or a very happy elephant seal who’s found a canister of helium washed up on the beach.
Anyway, Margaret’s absence explains the sudden drop in quality of the photographs—my technique is not so much point-and-click as point-an-iPhone-and-hope.
I’m about 12 inches down re-knitting the first sleeve, and so making good progress, though it does feel a bit like being kept in for detention after school; or the modern equivalent of forcing prisoners to pick oakum. I’m decreasing this time at 2 stitches every 4th row, a far more realistic rate than before. (I may take a short break after this sleeve is finished and start laying the foundations of my next project, just for a change; diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but trust me, after knitting so many, they do rather lose some of their lustre.)
Oh, and come January, when I’m snapping icicles out of my beard and using orphan street children to stop the wind whistling through the cracks round the windows, and the eternal hyperborean darkness means that the sun pops out and vanishes again like a cuckoo in a clock, remind me of this week: for the south of England’s been suffering a heatwave, temperatures a sticky and enervating 30+ºC; while here in Wick it’s been breezy, damp and cool, just 16ºC or so, with only a spot of sea fog (or “haar”), rain and a funfair to worry about. Grey skies have never been so welcome…
Finally this week, Judit has sent a picture of the recipient of the green gansey we featured the other week modelling the garment, the orthopaedic surgeon who operated on her foot. (Finland, the country where even the surgeons look like models. And you thought rugged, blue-eyed Dr House was just fiction.) What makes Judit’s work even more impressive is that she sizes her ganseys by eye—no measuring involved. Remarkable.