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Hebrides II (Revisited): Week 3 – 2 March

It’s the first day of March, St David’s Day, a date which has always felt like spring to me ever since we lived in Wales; a harbinger of hope with the snowdrops and daffodils coming out, and—in a particularly good year—Wales absolutely stuffing England at rugby. Alas for our times, I duly went for a walk along the river today; and yes, the snowdrops are out, though they look rather as if they wished they’d waited; but as for spring—well, not so much. In the space of thirty minutes I encountered drizzle, rain, sleet and hail, with the sorts of winds that make you look like you’re pulling an invisible sled; indeed, all I needed was some snowshoes and a sense of British pluck and I could have fitted into Captain Scott’s expedition, no questions asked.

I did see an otter, though, and that made up for much. The recent heavy rains have swollen the river to the fullest level I can remember, and maybe that’s made them bold. I was aware of a sleek, dark, whiskery head with a bright black eye bobbing in the swell, looking alertly round. Then it was gone with a *glop! *, only a few silently expanding ripples to show where it’d been. A few minutes later it was up again, twenty metres further off, and seemed to be munching something. It’s always a privilege, seeing an otter; even the ones that don’t look like Matt Damon (honestly, look it up: it’s a thing). They’re another creature who seem to have the meaning of life sorted out—sheep always look anxious, but you never see an otter having an existential crisis—as if the moment your back is turned they’ll be round the back of the bike sheds with the other cool kids, smoking something illegal.

Meanwhile, I’ve almost finished the lower body of the gansey. When I’ve finished the current round of trees and starfish, it’ll be time to start the gussets and the diamond strip separating the body pattern from the yoke. This is the business end of the gansey, so I have to commit to a row and stitch gauge in order to work out how to fit the patterns in the horizontal and vertical planes—and then hope for the best. I’ll say more about patterns as I come to them; for now, let’s just say I wish I’d paid more attention in maths class.

And speaking of St David’s Day, I came across this bizarre fact in my extensive researches (viz., Wikipedia): “by the 18th century the custom had arisen of confectioners producing “taffies”—gingerbread figures baked in the shape of a Welshman riding a goat—on Saint David’s Day”. I mean—what? From the context it’s obviously not supposed to be complimentary; though part of me wonders if we’d dealt with the EU in the same way—a particularly pointed pastry of Michel Barnier, say—would Brexit ever have come to pass? Alas, we’ll never know. Still , we can at least console ourselves with the thought that spring will soon be here—one way or, ahem, anotter

[N.B., Margaret is off on her travels this week, which is why the photos are below our usual standard; smartphones are wonderful things, but they can’t capture the true shade of a gansey. The other photos are recycled from my phone’s library; I was going to add captions, but I think they’re pretty self-explanatory…]

11 comments to Hebrides II (Revisited): Week 3 – 2 March

  • Sharon Gunason Pottinger

    You cannot leave uncaptioned the green outfit you’re wearing… Last time I saw something that green and shiny, it was on the Grand Klegle of the Ku Klux Klan passing out leaflets as part of a charm offensive. Offensive being the operativr word…What are you up to?

    • Gordon

      Hi Sharon, just another frog searching for a lonely princess, that’s me…

      They were animal costumes for kids’ activities at Caithness Horizons museum a few years back. Probably still there. I was invited to try one on, and to be honest what’s the point of life if you can’t dress up as a giant frog once in a while?

      Must admit, this is the first time I’ve ever had to deny affiliations to the KKK – as they say in The West Wing: “Wow – that escalated fast…”

      • Sharon Gunason Pottinger

        Oh it was such an amazing experience I’ve never been able to look at green the same way since. which is worse that the KKK exist or that they actually thought walking down the street in chartreuse sheet would make folk feel all warm and couthy….I am glad it is a frog–I should have known better, eh?

  • =Tamar

    I am amused and bemused (is there a ce-mused?) by the photo. How did the staid, straight-up work of last week suddenly become crinkly?

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, that’s an easy one – because I took the photo on my phone instead of Margaret with her proper camera…! Normal service will be resumed next week, when you should see it properly flat and in its actual colour!

  • Laura

    Gordon the good thing about the awful weather is that it is keeping you indoors making lots of progress on my gansey. That is when you are not dressing up as a Green Frog..ha ha….

    • Gordon

      Hi Laura, I’ve never felt the same about frogs since hearing Bob Dylan’s version of Froggy Went A-Courting. Life-changing about sums it up. This was my own small homage to his Bobness…

  • meg macleod

    soooo..green grow the rashes oh..something like a morris dancer gone astray…..i can imagine the bells and whistles

    • Gordon

      Hi Meg, I think you’re onto something there! Now all I need is another five people in animal costumes and a musician and I think we can start a new tradition!

  • =Tamar

    Tomorrow is 2020-03-05. Leaving off the year (2020), March 5 is 3-5. Christmas is 12-25. 35×35=1225. So March 5 is the square root of Christmas. (2020) 3-14 is Pi Day. The ten-day period from March 5 through March 14, inclusive, has been named Nerdigras. Time to celebrate!

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, truly, the geek shall inherit the earth! Though I have a nasty image in my mind of being driven out of paradise by an angel with a flaming sword because I carelessly forgot to carry the one…

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