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Fife 22: 19 – 25 April

Just a short entry this week, as (a) it’s Easter holiday, and (b) I am rotten with cold and seem to have turned into the slime monster from a 1950s B-movie who sounds like the love child of Barry White and Darth Vader. Or maybe I’ve finally reached puberty and my voice has broken? Or else this is just what you get when you meddle in the affairs of Unitarians, like I rashly did last week.

In my drug-raddled, tissue-sodden, mucus-encrusted state I have still found time for a little knitting – so the epic descent down Sleeve 2 continues slowly. (No more cables! Yeay!) If I keep bending my double-pointed needles like this I’ll end up turning them circular, a sort of cross between my method and the circular method recommended by Lynne, Dave and SongBird last week. And I reckon at this rate I’ll finish sometime later next week. Then – out come the scissors!

If you saw the comments to last week’s blog you’ll have seen one from Michael Pearson (peace and blessings be upon him), saying that his book Traditional Knitting is being republished by Dover. Which is really excellent news, and may generate a bit of publicity for ganseys, too. Do you think ganseys are undergoing something of a revival? I’d like to think so – certainly the numbers of people visiting this website are slowly going up, not that that means anything. What we need is a famous TV detective to wear one, like Sarah Lund’s celebrated jumper in the cult Danish cop show The Killing (which for a time sold out at the company who supply them). Maybe someone could suggest that Matt Smith’s Doctor Who could wear one? (But then, since his fashion sense includes bow ties, fezzes and stetsons this may not have the desired effect…)

Had a jolly nice time in the Midlands, thanks – my parents live in a lovely ex-pub on the Grand Union Canal, near the town of Northampton, which is where I grew up. It was a great place to be a kid – I remember freaking my Mum out once by walking across the canal one winter when it froze over. The downstairs still has the original bar where the canal boat crews would drink, with a great inglenook fireplace, oak beams, and bundles of character. It’s a bit much for them to manage now, but my brother was there and we discussed the possibility of converting the place into a sort of residential workshop venue, for classes on crafts such as, as it might be, knitting… (Watch this space.)

It was unseasonably hot down south – a sticky 22 degrees. But coming back, once we crossed the border into Scotland we watched the temperature drop like an altimeter – in the space of about 50 miles it went down 10 degrees to a brisk 12. (Yet another reason why I love living in Scotland!)

Well, as I have a chocolate Easter Bunny fluttering its eyelashes at me across the room with those come-hither eyes I guess I’d better close. By this time next week I’ll be a whole year older, but with a slightly larger CD collection, so it’s swings and roundabouts. There’s also the small matter of a royal wedding, which will, apparently, lift the spirits of a nation just like the last one in 1981 – and that one worked out pretty well, didn’t it? (What? Oh…)

15 comments to Fife 22: 19 – 25 April

  • Leigh

    Just a note:

    1. Sorry you are under the weather, Gordon. 2. Glad you had good time with your parents.
    3. Way cool about M. Pearson’s book.
    4. Ganseys better be making a come back; they certainly deserve it. As demonstrated by yours, a true work of art.
    5. My chocolate Easter Bunny keeps yelling, What? What?” at me. Perhaps it is because he/she is sans ears. Oops.

  • Leigh

    P.S. Happy Birthday to you!

  • Gordon

    Hi Leigh,

    And thanks. My birthday is tomorrow, the 26th, in fact, and I shall be a staggeringly ancient and decrepit 51. (Not that 51 is a decrepit and ancient age in itself, of course, just me.) And to make it worse, in an everything-happens-to-Eeyore sort of way, I’ve just cut my tongue on a cough sweet, which I discovered both by the salt taste and the dribbles of gore down my chin like Dracula after a heavy night making withdrawals at the blood bank. (Sigh.)

    I laughed out loud at your de-auriculated rabbit! In fact I think you’ve invented a new genre, Easter Bunny Torture Porn… (Lucky my family filter is set to “on”.)


  • Welcome home and Happy Birthday! Glad to hear that your family visit was fun and I’d love to hear about lessons in the Olde Pubbe. *snort*

    I’m going to try to get out today and see if I can find any half-off Easter chocolate. Bunnies are in my future, I know it.


  • Leigh

    What a riot! I have this horrible truth to tell you Gordon, there is a direct algorhythmic relationship of ancientness and decrepitness to the elevation of that little, itty-bitty number. 51? Och! Yer chust a Spring laddie!

  • Gordon

    Hi Song,

    No, really, it is an old authentic former pub. I did some research for my Mum in the local record office and found it on the enclosure map of 1840, and we found other records going back further – the Anchor Inn as was. (And my brother and I both have deep grooves across our foreheads from constantly banging our heads on the low beams as we grew taller; in fact my theory on why people used to be shorter is simply they’d have kept knocking themselves out on the low ceilings!).


  • Gordon

    Oh, and Leigh – they say every 80 year-old looks in the mirror and sees an 18 year-old looking out – in my case it’s always been the other way round, sadly!


  • =Tamar

    Some of us have curly agelines, I think–older at times, younger at times, but no consistency. I like the idea of classes in the old Anchor Pub. Properly well organized classes can be a success as long as all the paperwork is taken care of, and I imagine as an archivist you have some skill with paperwork.

    The gansey is really coming along. I think I’d chicken out and just wear it as a loose, comfortable pullover with a wide strip for wearing decorative pin badges down the front.

  • *facepalm* No, I understood that it’s a real antique pub; I was being a bit silly. Over here, in the Colonies, we don’t have anything as old as you guys, so we often add unnecessary letters and spellings to show phaux age.

    You’re 10 years older than I; in June I turn 41. I’ve felt as if I’m about 25 … since I was 25. I wonder if I’ll ever “feel my age”. (I refuse to act it!)


  • Michael Pearson

    thanks for your positive remarks; I too have the worst cold -in all this heat down under.
    your pub project sounds interesting -and you have plenty of anchor patterns to knit up a celebration gansey ready for its opening!
    Umm -age – I can remember by dad saying to me something along similar lines when I was 18 -him feeling 18 inside when he was 40 on the outside. At the time I remember it was after- me having drunk a bucket of Bass, staying out most of the night and waking him up being sick in the toilet. (We were too middle class to have a toilet outside!!) For the life of me I still cant recall the logic he spouted, but I sure know how he feels now. I was 65 on the 18th April -and 18 on the inside – no way – more like 40!!
    Your knitting looks great – roll on next week.
    PS – comments on how you would like to improve my book are most welcome.

  • Dave

    Happy Birthday, Gordon! I’m just slightly ahead of you in years . . . I’m having trouble relating to all of the others who say that they still feel 18 or 25 or some other long-forgotten age; maybe I have a touch of Eeyore too.

  • Lynne

    Happy Birthday, Gordon – It’s not quite as traumatic as last year’s half-century mark, though, is it? I’m with Dave, definitely not feeling 18, but also very pleased I feel as good as I do. Have another chocolate and knock that cold.

  • Gordon

    Hi Guys, and many thanks for the good wishes. Among my cornucopia of birthday goodies was a new hat (I have a bit of a thing for hats, and this one is a fedora. In my imagination I think it gives em a Humphrey Bogarte-ish air, but deep down I know it just makes me look like Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit). I’ve been wearing it on and off all day – to break it in, you understand, not at all like a 12 year-old obsessed with a new cowboy hat.

    Michael – ah, happy days. Sounds very similar to my 18th, except I didn’t make it as far as the toilet and was sick in the front hallway as my Dad came downstairs. (Though in my case Ruddles County real ale was my undoing…) One of many happy memories associated with the dear old ex-Anchor Pub, in fact! (Happy belated birthday for the 18th, too.)

    Song – reading your post again I get it now – sorry – blame the cold which is making me so obtuse just now that when double glazing salesmen phone me up I find myself saying, “Really? Tell me more. What? You want my credit card details? Yes, of course, just let me get my wallet…”)

    My current cure is single malt whisky and a chocolate Easter egg, which may explain why I’m not getting better fast.


  • Ruth

    Happy birthday, Gordon, hope you feel better soon, enjoy the eater eggs!

  • Lisa Mitchell

    Sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Every site like yours helps revive the gansey – long may they (and your site) last! I’m such a jumper newbie…I look at the beautiful work you’ve done and think (scream!) “What!?! He’s going to cut it?” but it becomes a matter of faith. Just trust…
    There was an Easter cartoon goint the rounds on this side of the pond a couple of years ago. Picture two chocolate Easter rabbits sitting side by side. One is missing ears, the other missing tail. The tail-less one says, “My butt hurts.” The ear-less one replies, “What?!?” Sorry…