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Flamborough III: Week 9 – 19th July

I don’t know if you’ve taken one of those lateral flow tests for coronavirus, the kind that give you a result after about 30 minutes? They’re a sort of cross between a Big Boys’ Home Crime Scene Investigation kit and a junior chemistry set. The bit where you actually take your sample isn’t much fun—I still haven’t developed the knack of swabbing the tonsilly bits at the back of the throat without gagging; and having a swab rammed that far up my nostril makes me feel I’m only a sneeze away from serious brain damage. (On the plus side, though, I do get to go the full Ahab and shout, “Avast, ye swabs!” every time I open the packet.)

Emerging aliens

But I do enjoy dripping the resultant fluid onto the test strip and waiting for the results to emerge. In some ways it’s bit like playing roulette (“everything on Negative, please”), but mostly I feel like Sherlock Holmes: “You come at a crisis, Watson. If this paper remains negative, all is well. If it turns positive, it means a man’s self-isolation for ten days”. So far I’ve tested consistently negative—more proof, if any were needed, of the power of negative thinking.

In parish notices, Judit has sent us a splendid picture of the lucky recipient wearing the gansey we featured last week. Not only is it is cracking pattern, it looks like a perfect fit, and from this evidence deserves be more much better known.

Flat Calm

Meanwhile my own gansey creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to (what certainly feels like) the last syllable of recorded time. But lo! We are already on the sleeves, and the light at the end of the tunnel shines a little brighter. Once past the gussets, I’m decreasing at a rate of 2 stitches every five rows. For the technically-minded, I leave the stitches on the needles until that fifth (decrease) row, then I shift them round by about five stitches each time. (Leave the stitches on the same needles all the time and you get a line running down the sleeves at the joins; shift them round each row and you get diagonal stripes; but a shift every five rows becomes invisible after blocking.) Another month should see it finished, if I’m spared.

Grasses blowing in the wind

In other news, we’re suffering from an infestation of blowflies in the lounge. We can’t figure out where on earth they’re coming from: we’ve blocked off the chimney and hoovered every surface, but every hour or so there’s another dozen of the blighters. They just sort of appear as if jumping in from hyperspace; I have an image of God getting more and more exasperated as we keep annihilating them as fast as He creates them. (This, of course, is where my tolerance for living things runs into the buffers: I’m a soft touch, but even I draw a line with exchanging bodily fluids with any Calliphoridae that choose to go swimming in my apple juice.) It’s starting to resemble the kind of plague that so depressed Pharaoh back in the day, to the point where I’m checking the house to see if I’ve locked up any Old Testament prophets by mistake. So far I’ve tried reasoning with them, playing Nirvana and weakening their worldview with readings from Dostoyevsky. I’m starting to think it may not be enough…

4 comments to Flamborough III: Week 9 – 19th July

  • =Tamar

    Do you have the kind of windows that have ropes or chains that lead to hidden sash weights? They ride in a hollow space, in which flies can breed. It may be necessary to take the window frame apart (it can be done without damage). Or aim bugspray into the hole the pulley is in. (source: experience of my first husband’s parents)

    On the gansey sleeve the X pattern faintly resembles huge cross-stitching.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, our windows are stuck fast, alas. They’re so old that if we tried to open them they’d probably fall out. We couldn’t work out if the flies were trapped inside, or getting in somehow! Luckily they gave up after a couple of days, showing about as much perseverance as I usually do…

  • Lois

    How about a pet chameleon? Is there a chameleon adoption agency? Or perhaps somebody has a rental agency.
    Just a suggestion ………

    • Gordon

      Hi Lois, that sounds like a plan. Except (a) Wick is a bit short on chameleon suppliers, and I have my doubts about ordering one from Amazon, and (b) I picture myself in six months time with a huge chameleon walking up my knitting needles like a branch in the jungle and no flies left to feed it…

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