Spring is advancing like a suspicious fencing master: a few steps forward, a few steps back, a thrust here and a parry there; daffodils in the hedgerows and buds on the trees coupled with blustery wind and cold rain. It’s all up in the air still; you feel it could go either way. The shops, even in Wick, are optimistically full of summer clothes, t-shirts and sunblock, while people, wrapped in coats and scarves, huddle in the doorways out of the wind.
It’s my birthday this week, so I decided to treat myself to a subscription to Major League Baseball – it’s much cheaper than cricket and you can stream games on your computer, tv or iPad.
Watching my first game last night (Red Sox vs. Kansas City) was a bit of a shock. The last time I saw any baseball the players were all different creeds and colours; now they all look like the members of the rock group ZZ Top. They’re big, too: whereas cricketers have slimmed down and go haring round the field like whippets in flannels, some of these guys look like nightclub bouncers running for the bus.
There are many things that I love about baseball: the incredible skill, the tactics I can’t begin to understand, the family atmosphere – but also the fact that the players don’t habitually bite one another. A footballer, Luis Suarez, made the headlines in the UK this weekend for biting the arm of one the opposition players, and I mention this only because it’s given rise to my new favourite online joke: “the other guy stuck out his arm and Suarez made a meal of it…”
In gansey news the cardigan is in intensive care, surrounded by highly trained medical staff and machines that go “beep”. (I couldn’t bear to watch while Margaret cut the steek, but instead paced back and forth downstairs like an anxious father-to-be in a Victorian novel.) We hope to make next week’s blog a cardigan special but in the meantime here are a couple of “behind the scenes” photos.
I often find that knitting a gansey is like reading Proust: you start off full of enthusiasm and zonk through the first volume in no time, and find yourself thinking, this isn’t so bad, ha, don’t know what all the fuss is about. Then sometime around the middle of volume 2 it begins to occur to you that there are still another five volumes to go and young blasted Marcel is unbelievably still only a child; despair insinuates itself into your soul like the lingering smell of yesterday’s burnt toast and you find yourself possessed of an urge to re-read Harry Potter books instead. (In fact, now I think of it, I may patent the Gansey Proustometer, a scale to measure knitting progress against based on the great man’s works. On that scale I’m probably a Swann’s Way 7.5 at the moment.)
As I said, it’s my birthday later in the week, and as a special treat I’ll be spending it at the hospital in Inverness getting my eyes examined – which means bright lights, dilated pupils and tears before bedtime: only two of which are in any way unusual for me…