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Filey 2.3: 15 – 21 April

F20421aSpring 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.

F20421cWatching 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…”

Heb0421aIn 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.

Heb0421gMeanwhile the new Filey gansey continues to slowly grow under the needles. It’s about seven inches high now, including the welt, and the pattern is really starting to take shape.

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…

17 comments to Filey 2.3: 15 – 21 April

  • Marilyn

    Hello Gordon, always good to celebrate being on the planet in a spectacular way. The gansey seems to be flying off your needles, no doubt being able to see the stitches is a great help. smile.
    Happy Birthday!

  • Sheila

    Happy birthday, Gordon! I just love having your posts to read on Mondays.




  • Judit M./ Finland

    And even in Finnish :):



  • Lynne

    Happy Birthday, Gordon – and good luck with the eye exam, I sure hope they are able to improve your vision. I love the way that pattern shows up on the new gansey, it must feel great to get back to such ‘clean’ design elements again. I’m envious!

  • Dave

    Buon Compleanno e Tanti Auguri!

  • Gordon

    Why thank you, everyone. Friday is the big day, and after I’ve finished impersonating Malcolm McDowell when he’s being treated at the end of A Clockwork Orange and have escaped from the hospital, cake and a really nice coffee is definitely top of the list.

    Dave, I ran that through my translation program and it suggested that your Aunt Augusta has complained about the lead singer of U2 – or perhaps it’s just time for a software upgrade?


  • =Tamar

    Happy Birthday! Best wishes for a good result on Friday!

  • Sue G.

    You sound a bit like my daughter, who turned 12 this month. I had the piano tuned on her birthday, which she did not consider to be an appropriate present, even though all the keys now make the correct sound when she plays. She required a cake and a friend to sleepover.

    Happy birthday and good luck with the eyes.

  • Nigel

    Happy birthday Gordon.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar, Sue and Nigel,

    Thank you. As they say, it’s not the age, it’s the mileage—and considering I’ve travelled from the southern hemisphere, there’s my problem right there.

    Sue—a cake and a friend to sleepover still sounds like a great idea for a birthday even now!


  • Sue

    Hi Gordon, Happy Birthday and I hope all goes well to tomorrow.

  • Gordon

    Thanks, Sue!
    Just a quick note to say, I got the All Clear at the hospital yesterday, so everything’s fine: no sign of any problems. So hopefully that’s my last visit to the Eye Clinic!

    Meanwhile, like the Queen, I plan to have 2 birthdays: the actual one yesterday, which was a bit of a bust (except for the good news and the celebration cake and coffee in Starbucks); and an “official” one today, where i can actually enjoy myself!

    Thanks again for all the good will and support. More on Monday,

  • Lisa Mitchell

    Now I’ll be able to remember your birthday for next year – same day as my mum’s. Though it’s been years since she knit and she never steeked (yes – that’s steeked with no “r” in it!). Good luck with that btw. Glad to hear all’s well in the vision department.

  • Gordon

    Thanks, Lisa. I was supposed to be born on ANZAC day, which is a national holiday in New Zealand, but stubborn to the last I clung on and emerged on the 26th… I think I knew what life had in store for me!


  • LOL…glad you’re ok. I went through that TWICE when I started seeing lightning-flashes and there was nothing going on weather-wise! One turned out to be a lesion that had healed by the time I got to the retina specialist and they other was just “gone”…I have not had a recurrence. I think it had to do with getting sloppy about my BP meds. I’ve had that for YEARS…kind of runs in the family…so, if you’re on any of that stuff..TAKE IT, FOLKS!
    Anyway, part of it is just the years catching up with us!
    I just acquired and old Circular Sock Machine and am warming up to learning to use it…I will eventually LOOK IT IN THE EYE and WALK CONFIDENTLY TOWARDS IT..an conquer…in the meantime, the traditional needles are flying through a lovely little moss-stitch cardigan!!!!

  • Gordon

    Hi Nancy,

    Some of the flashes we get are apparently to do with the jelly in the eye shrinking as we get older, as you say – as it pulls away from the back of the eye it stimulates the retina and we see flashes. Apparently it’s all harmless and perfectly natural, even (as in my case) when it detaches itself completely from the back of the eye. Albeit a bit weird.

    Good luck with your knitting and your scary-sounding sock machine. But I can’t help feeling your mantra for dealing with it is rather similar to the instructions to First World War soldiers to advance on the enemy machine guns, and look how that turned out…


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