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Humber 4: 17 – 23 October

I think I’ve had occasion to mention before the blessing and curse of the modern world that is autocorrect – whereby your computer assumes it’s smarter than you and corrects what you’ve typed into what it thinks you should have typed.

Long-term readers will recall that this used to happen most spectacularly when I worked in Wales, of course, when my word processor regularly replaced Archyfydd, the Welsh for Archivist, with Archfiend – so that I used to go round describing myself as the County Archfiend, still my favourite job title.

Now, while I’m between two homes, I’m doing most of my computing on my iPad – a fantastic little device that lets you surf the web while supine and/or comatose – but whose virtual keyboard is just a smidgeon smaller than a regular computer keyboard. Throw into the mix my blunt, stubby fingers, and you have an unrivalled opportunity for gobbledygook.

Big Skies of Caithness

Last night I discovered, to my great delight, that through some clumsy typing on my part Darth Vader had morphed into Death Badger. (I defy you to replay Star Wars in your head, replacing the one with the other, and not feel that it makes for a huge improvement.) Anyway, it’s all done so sneakily you don’t always notice – so this partially explains why there are so many typos in comments I’m posting at the moment.

Thanks for all the good wishes on my new job. I won’t pretend it hasn’t been stressful, finding a house to rent, moving up, starting the job, house hunting – and so much of archives work is “stuff you just have to learn” (what collections you hold, what sort of material they contain, the location of every village and hamlet in the county), I’ll be blundering around in a fog for some time to come. But so far so good – in fact, I may even be able to take my analyst off speed dial if things keep improving.

And in case you were wondering . . . Balerno modeled by recipient

It’s almost the end of October, though, so the weather’s unkind. Last week temperatures were only a degree or two above freezing, and the rain fell as hail, then sleet (most of it down the back of my neck). Today it’s warmer, but so windy people are walking around with what I thought were balloons, but it turned out to be small dogs swept up by the wind, tethered by their leashes.

So it looks like I’m going to need a good supply of ganseys. As you’ll see, I’ve slowed down a bit this week – not surprisingly. But you can see the seed stitch/ chevron pattern is starting to emerge clearly now. Now I’m well into it I’m not making any mistakes – one row starts purl-knit-purl, the next knit-knit-purl, and it’s almost impossible to get that wrong, even for the likes of me.

Next week the clocks go back and it’ll be Hallowe’en, so I suppose I’d better gear up to tricked or treated by the local gangs. I may even dress up in my own costume – who knows? I could always appear as Death Badger…

8 comments to Humber 4: 17 – 23 October

  • Dave

    Death Badger does have a certain appeal to it . . .

    Small dog balloons are nothing here. My dearly departed Newfoundland dog Gustav, a good 11 stone at his prime, spent most of his life airborne. Houses here are built with a small hole in the roof, and every morning we raise a 1″-diameter steel bar through the hole. If the bar doesn’t bend from the wind, it’s OK to go outside.

    Uncle John looks well pleased with his gansey!

  • Lynne

    Your uncle looks smashing – and proud – in his new gansey, what a great project – and handsome model!
    The blog after Hallowe’en, we will expect a photo of you in costume, hmmm, Death Badger would be interesting.

  • Death Badger!! We don’t need no steenkin’ badgers!


    Right. I’m glad that you’re doing okay at work – the first few weeks of any new job are like groping around in a fog of confusion. It’s probably a good thing you have ganseys and strange rentals to keep your mind off work.


  • Gordon

    Hi all,

    Dave, ever since I read that soldiers advancing against heavy gunfire resemble people struggling against strong winds – head down, shoulders hunched, in a sort of half-crouch – I find myself watching people in the wind just to see, and it’s true. Though I find myself walking more as though I’m playing a game of rugby against an invisible enemy.

    Death Badger reminds me either of Terry Pratchett’s marvellous Death of Rats, or the creepy Death Owl from Gormenghast. I find myself thinking of the avuncular Mr Badger from The Wind In The Willows in a robe.

    Song – very good- that goes in the Things I Wish I’d Thought Of box!

    Lynne, my uncle who is a talented painter gave one of his paintings in exchange, so it was a fair swap. If that was a bllack and white photo I think he’d pass for an authentic ex-fisherman.


  • Freyalyn

    Thank you for ‘Death Badger’ – I shall treasure it. I’m surprised I haven’t come across someone called that on Ravelry!

    Lovely photos of ganseys, as usual.

  • Gordon

    Hi Freyalin,

    I’m now trying to develop DB (as I like to think of him) as a lovable children’s cartoon character. Part badger of death, part superhero crime fighter, taking amusing revenge on farmers for badger baiting and culls…

    OK, maybe needs work.

  • Ulrike

    Hello Gordon,
    the sweater is so lovely and your uncle looks very handome in his new sweater.

    Greetings to both of you, uncle and nephew!
    Cheers, Ulrike

  • Gordon

    Hi Ulrike,

    Thank you. I think it’s one of the best pictures we’ve taken of someone wearing a gansey – alas, though, I take after my mother’s side of the family…!