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Flamborough (John Knaggs) 3: 7 September

FJK140907aSo that was summer, then. Only last weekend we were sunning ourselves down by Lybster harbour, inhaling ice creams and watching the sunlight shimmer on the ocean like a sprinkling of fool’s gold; today, Sunday, we huddle indoors as the rain lashes the windows and the wind shakes the branches of the tree in the garden so vigorously it looks like Treebeard with his finger stuck in the light socket.

I had another migraine today. Sometimes they come like the end of the world, bright lights and dysfunctionality, like watching the last quarter of an hour of 2001: A Space Odyssey with a hangover; sometimes, as today, they just sneak up on you and mess with your head.


On Saturday we had hail . . .

It’s hard to describe a migraine to someone who’s never had one, like trying to persuade a lover of classical music (or, well, any music, come to that) that Bob Dylan is a great singer. (Someone once said to me that Bob Dylan is what a migraine would sound like if it had a recording contract, but I tell myself he was just being mean.)


. . . and sunshine

So today I had a headache, sure, but that wasn’t the worst part—everything became fragmented, disjointed. To take just one example, after taking a bath I became convinced that my shirt had been folded inside out—but every time I corrected this and put it on it was still, bafflingly, inside out again. I did this three times. I even tried reversing just one sleeve to see if I could figure out what was wrong (I couldn’t). The only way I could make sense of it was to take another shirt from the rack and compare the two, by aligning the labels. (Honestly, sometimes the flashing lights are preferable.)

FJK140907cAnyway, ganseys. I have finished the gussets as far as the body is concerned, and put them on loops of yarn ready for when I start the sleeves. I increased 2 stitches every 4 rows along the gussets until they were 17 stitches across.

Now I’ve divided front and back, and am embarked on the back. With a pattern as fiddly as this it’s a challenge to do the reverse rows, especially in such a dark yarn, so I have to concentrate (hmm, a migraine you say?). But it’s shaping up nicely, and I do like the effect of the vertical ribs separating the seed stitch panels. Many years ago we lived in East Anglia, the flattest land I’d yet seen (I hadn’t been to Caithness then, of course): this pattern reminds me rather of the drainage dykes running straight as Roman roads across the sunken fields.

Oh, and speaking of flatlands, the Caithness community website has posted some aerial photographs of the county, which you can view here: well worth a peek if you want to see what God’s early handiwork looked like before He moved into the third dimension with the rest of His creation…

11 comments to Flamborough (John Knaggs) 3: 7 September

  • Marilyn

    Hi Gordon, aye, it might be Flatland, but at least you can see your enemies approaching a long way off… quite defensible; I’m sure the ancients thought so. Loved the aerial views, thanks for sharing that.
    I’ve studied some distance healing techniques. Some teachers thought you needed permission before sending but I think that healing can’t be inflicted; it can be allowed or disallowed. So, my virtual friend, I’m a long way off and you won’t see it coming. Enemies you can see, friends you can’t, it’s a funny old world.
    Live long and prosper, happy knitting.

  • Lynne

    Thanks for sharing the link to the Caithness gallery, I’ve looked at the area on Google Earth before, but it’s a bit more fiddly than this great photo gallery.
    This must be the quickest gansey project you’ve done, it looks great in the traditional navy. My first gansey, 21 years ago, was an intricate Flamborough pattern in navy and I took it to a tunic length as that was the style back then – and – they’re back in style again (as if I care)! It’s still the warmest “go to” sweater I own.
    I can empathize with your migraine symptoms but, gratefully, I ‘out-aged’ them. Is acupuncture an option?

  • Felicity

    Feel better, Gordon.

  • Gordon

    Hello all, and thank you for the good wishes. In what I can only call a very unfair left-right combination of punches by a malign and sadistic fate, I am currently off work with some sort of bug-come-cold, a head stuffed with cotton wool and what Terry Pratchett’s immortal Nanny Ogg would call a case of “dire rear”.

    Marilyn, thank you – the only problem with my enemies up here, the buggers come up behind me by sea while I’m staring across the flatlands for the invasion to start…

    Lynne, well, I’m cheating really because I made a sort of false start a week or two, on and off, before the Official Numbering began. But it’s going very quickly for all that, isn’t it? Tunic length sounds nice and cosy—but if I thought I had to make this one that length I’d train a chicken to peck my own eyeballs out! (Oh, and I hadn’t thought of acupuncture. I tried slamming my head in the fridge door but that doesn’t seem to have helped…)

    Felicity – thank you.

    Take it easy, one and all,

  • Gordon

    … come to think of it, I could start an acupuncture service for gansey fans using 2.25mm needles! Lord knows, I’ve got the needles—now, where’s my hammer…?

  • Jane

    Stunning progress on the gansey, very nice. Sorry to hear about the migraine and the cold and hope you feel better very soon. I think there is an awful lot of it about as they say.

    The fuzz in my head has subsided a little bit, but the husband has the cold now. This is a good travelling virus! Progress on the openwork cardie has been a bit slow this week, no surprise. Ducks and peacocks still doing well, I now go round the garden muttering “Stay inside the hedges lads and heads down”!

    Hope your “fuzz” goes away soon. Wonderful aerial photos of Caithness.

  • Gordon

    Hi Jane,

    Migraine gone, cold mostly gone, now just have the crippling existential doubts to overcome. (But then, that’s why God invented single malt…) Sorry to hear about your own colds – I’d forgotten just how much a cold can push you out of your own head and body, as if one’s brain was put in a box with some air holes and maybe some straw and twigs and a couple of bits of lettuce for winter hibernation, like a hedgehog. (Or is that polar bears? I forget.)

    I think you’re probably safe unless you see a horde of stockbrokers arrive in old-fashioned shooting brakes with purvey shotguns tucked under their arms; and if any gamekeepers or beaters should ask if they can come into your garden and stir up some game I’d make sure the answer is no…

  • Jane

    Bingo! That was the problem. On Monday I and my really fuzzy head went out into the garden clutching bowl of bird-duck-deer food and found, yes, a beater waving a plastic bag on a stick in my garden. “You,re in my garden” to which he said “Just after my birds” and made a quick getaway. I am totally not impressed and have told the ducks so. They, not being daft, have disappeared. Hum.

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane,

      I don’t suppose it’s worth checking to see if man-traps are still illegal…? Or failing that, a 9-foot pit covered with leaves for unsuspecting beaters to fall into.

      I’d like to think that the ducks are currently on a residential weekend seminar with PowerPoint charts and self-defence exercises called: Humans With Guns: The Best Dangly Bits to Peck for Maximum Results.

  • Eva

    Sorry to hear about the migraines…I use Tiger Balm on my temples and the back of my neck and mandibular joint then take a short nap while it works.

    • Gordon

      Hi Eva and thanks. Haven’t tried Tiger Balm – my cut-to-the-chase chemical of choice right now is Solpadeine, an exciting cocktail of paracetamol and codeine that I’ve left instructions in my will about—basically, once I’m pronounced dead someone has to administer some Solpadeine, and only if i don’t revive am I to be given my Viking funeral…

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