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Hebrides II (Revisited): Week 5 – 16 March

I turned on the television the other day, to catch the latest news about the coronavirus. Imagine my shock to find a stern-faced leader addressing his people from a podium: “Some of you may die,” he said, “but that is a sacrifice I’m willing to make”. Blimey, I thought: that’s a bit stark for Boris. Then I realised I’d put on Shrek by mistake.

Handrail at the North Baths pool

So here we are, watching the needle on the anxiety-o-meter creeping all the way up to critical. Football and other sports are cancelled, travel suspended, and the media apparently have no other news. I blew my nose at work on Friday. When I looked up, everyone in the room was staring at the tissue in my hands. I felt like a strange gunslinger walking into the Malemute saloon: the piano player stopped playing, the dealer paused as he dealt the cards. Patiently I explained that this is the same condition I’ve had for a year now, you’ve all seen it, it’s nothing new. Gradually everyone relaxed; but just for a minute there…

Seaweed & Driftwood

The Simpsons captured this mood perfectly many years ago, when a reporter asks a pundit, “Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?” And the pundit earnestly replies, “Yes I would.”

Well, we all know knitting is one way to alleviate stress and anxiety, so let’s have at it. I’ve almost finished the back of the gansey so it’s possible now to get an idea of the overall look of the thing. It’s always something of a risk, knitting a yoke with a specified number of rows, as every cone of yarn knits up a little differently. But, touch wood, this time it seems to have worked out. The coppery tones of the Frangipani Breton yarn really suit the pattern, too.

As for the virus, we know that things will get worse before they get better. But get better they will. So let’s all wash our hands, be safe, and look out for each other. At times like this I fall back on a phrase from James Joyce’s Ulysses, on the importance of remembering that bad things are only temporary, and will pass: “Life is many days. This will end.”

8 comments to Hebrides II (Revisited): Week 5 – 16 March

  • =Tamar

    Oh, that gansey is beautiful!

    I feel for you with the tissue issue. Now that the plants are coming back into leaf and flower, those of us with permanent nasal issues are being joined by the allergy-prone in the ranks of those who are side-eyed.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, you have my sympathies – not just for the allergies, but the paranoia. I’m working from home now, which at least frees me of the need to keep saying, “I’ve had this cough for a year, you absent-minded ingrates” several times a day…

  • Your blog brings joy to my life, especially today.

    • Gordon

      Hello Sandy, glad you liked it – and thank you for letting me know, it means a lot to get feedback. Stay safe and happy knitting!

  • Laura Kinnane-Brew

    The gansey is beautiful and aren’t I the lucky one. It’s for me…yippee…

  • Or as Film Aragorn says: A day may come when the courage of knitters fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, that’s brilliant! And I’d like to think it’s true – not this day, or any day to come.

      As a side note, I was delighted to read that the chain mail armour in the Lord of the Rings films was knitted and painted silver. If the elves had knitting, I think it would have looked Hebridean…

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