First of all, apologies to those who’ve tuned in to see open-heart surgery on the cardigan (actually I think of it as a sort of sex-change operation, from a gansey to a cardy—each requiring the steady use of a pair of scissors, if the cartoons I watched as a child are to be believed). But owing to one of those random acts of God that come along now and then and cause untold devastation—e.g., a meteorite strike, an earthquake, a Conservative government—I’m afraid we’re a little behind schedule.
Let me explain: we’re back in Wick after our Easter holiday down south—but our car isn’t. Instead, it languishes in a garage 450 miles away, after the steering lock died outside our friends’ house in Southport (in the process lowering the tone of a very decent neighbourhood).
We only found out there was a problem at 8.30am on the day we were set to leave, said automobile having made the journey there with no difficulties whatsoever; but when I inserted the card in the ignition all that resulted was a sort of sad ticking noise, as though the car was clicking its tongue at the futility of our expectations of getting home. Luckily we had roadside assistance cover, but it took 3 RAC patrolmen over 5 hours to decide that we were beyond help. (It was like watching an episode of “House”, but one where by the time the credits rolled he’d given up and gone down the pub instead of solving the mystery at the last minute.)
At times the whole experience resembled Baldilocks and the Three Bewildered RAC Patrolmen: the first thought it was the immobiliser; the second thought it was the electrics; and the third thought it was the ignition. (I just thought it was bloody freezing, and I was the only correct one among us.)
At last a trailer came and hauled the carcase away and we were provided with a hire car to get home, a feat we achieved at 12.15am (after a rather scenic twilight drive through the snow-capped Highlands). If the garage can fix it soon, I’ll take another couple of days off work later in the week and we’ll hire another car and repeat the 9-hour drive south to pick it up—and pay the £600+ repair bill.
As Feste the clown sings in Twelfth Night:
“And when I bought myself a car,
With hey ho, the wind and the rain,
It never got me very far,
For the car it breaketh every day…”
Anyway. Thank you to everyone who downloaded copies of my books when they were on the free promotion over Easter. I’m delighted to report that there were about 2,000 downloads overall, a record for me.
Finally, as the discerning among you will have guessed, I’ve started another gansey. This one is in Frangipani seaspray yarn. My plan is to knit a generic gansey to donate to the crew of the Reaper, the fishing boat the Anstruther Fisheries Museum uses for educational purposes and which came to the Wick Harbour Festival last year (when the captain told me they were always looking for authentic ganseys to wear).
Since I’m fairly generic myself, I’m basing it on my own size: so a 44”-46” chest. I cast on 388 stitches to make a ribbed welt of 97 ribs, and after knitting about 3.5 inches have just increased into the body to bring it to 430 stitches. The pattern will be based on Matt Cammish’s gansey, a Filey pattern recorded in Gladys Thompson’s book (picture on p.21, directions on p.24). I’ve had to change it slightly to fit the number of stitches I have, but it’ll be essentially the same. More on this next week, though.
Meanwhile, spring has come to Wick, in the form of stunning blue skies and crisp sunshine, even if the wind is bitterly cold. In fact it’s so nice we could just jump in the car and go for a dri—