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Inverallochy, Week 8: 19 February

Hi, voice of experience here. I thought I’d start this week with a word of advice. When someone you know is ill—as it might be with a respiratory infection—and has coughed so hard they’ve pulled not one but two muscles in their side and shoulder so that it hurts when they breathe, and are under orders to lie very still; when, as I say, you know someone in this situation, it’s probably not a great idea to send them absurd cat videos from the internet to cheer them up.

Clouds over Stroma

You’d think I’d know better by now, but apparently not. Oh look, a cat video, I’d think, innocently clicking on the link on my iPad. Then there’d come a brief pause while I’d watch with a growing sense of unease, followed by a suppressed snort of laughter, causing my cheeks to bulge like a hamster being inflated with a bicycle pump. The snort, probing for an exit, would find its way into my nose and, after a few seconds of steadily mounting pressure, would explode, taking with it whatever had been blocking my sinuses and distributing it over the sheets like a glistening volcanic ash cloud.

By now I’d be gasping for air, only for this to strain my pulled muscles and cause me to cry out with pain. But I couldn’t stop laughing either, while the now disregarded cat carried on serenely, its video stuck in a loop. So I’d thrash about in the bed like a newly landed halibut, in a loop of my own, making a sort of “Skrrrt—hur—wheeee—arrgghh!—shutsshutsshut” noise, until gradually the fit passed and I was able to close the tab and wait for the world to stop spinning.

Well, I’m delighted to say that the infection is wearing off, and I am almost back to my old self. One sign of this is that I am knitting again, for the first time in several days. It was a bit of a slog at first—it sounds stupid, but I had to recall the mechanics of how to make a stitch, then a purl, and then get back into the pattern. Even then it was as if I was picking up someone else’s knitting. But this passed quickly enough, and I’m almost back in the zone: I’m not so far from finishing the back now.

Also, my brother is out of hospital and convalescing, many thanks for all the expressions of good will last week; and Margaret has gone down to help out for a few weeks, so once again the quality of pictures will drop perforce, for which our apologies.

One good thing about feeling better is that I was finally able to stagger to the bathroom to trim my beard, which was becoming a touch Old Testament prophet-ish round the edges. Or as my old friend Yeats famously put it:

And what rough archivist, his stubble grown long at last,
Slouches towards the bathroom to be shorn?

Hmm. Haven’t coughed for a while. Time for another cat video, I think…

9 comments to Inverallochy, Week 8: 19 February

  • Gordon Reid

    Actually the poem I quote above is just the end of a much longer piece, called The Second Coming. For those who don’t know it, it begins like this:

    Bulging and bulging in his widening shorts
    The fat archivist cannot see the scales;
    Things fall apart; his trousers cannot hold;
    Mere flabbiness is loosed upon the world,
    The fleshy thighs are loosed, and everywhere
    The shopping cart with cookies high is piled;
    The best lack all confectionery, while the worst
    Are full of chocolate and calories…

  • Gail Donkin

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. My good wishes for Colin’s recovery also.
    The sweater is stunning – what a great pattern it is. I will have to save it for the next sweater for the grandson.

  • sharon in surrey

    I’m beginning to really like this pattern more & more – I thought it was a bit plain for the longest time but it’s not really, is it?? Also pleased to hear you’re feeling better – don’t overdo it or you’ll be right back in bed coughing. I still have sore ribs from coughing my way through pneumonia before Christmas!!

  • Lois

    Glad to hear you and Colin are both on the road to recovery. Just don’t go overdoing things.

    And the gansey yoke is gorgeous! Such an effective pattern and rich texture. Every time I think that you can’t possibly surpass the last gansey, you manage to do so.

  • Jane

    Very pleased to hear you are on the mend, and Colin too. You all need to look after yourselves for a while, be kind to yourselves and let the nasty stuff go away. And I think Margaret is just wonderful.

    The gansey is marvellous, the yoke has a lovely structured ornate look. The colour is just so good and the stitches stand out so well!

    We have three rehomed cats, life is endlessly entertaining, a constant game of cat chess! We even managed to acquire out of nowhere a completely wild one for eighteen scary months. Solitary and devastating of everything, but with a nice sense of humour, he now lives in a feral band and “cares for” a nice stables fifty miles away, too far to travel back, huge sigh of relief! Great fun. Take care!

  • =Tamar

    I am also liking the pattern more and more. It took me about five minutes to recover from that poem, by the way. I can identify with the topic much too easily. I’m glad you’re feeling well enough to knit and write.

  • Gordon

    Hello everyone, sorry for not replying individually. I’m definitely on the mend, but I find my batteries only take me through the working day, then when I get home I basically lapse into a drool-mired coma until the sound of the ten o’clock news jolts me to wakefulness and I drag myself to bed. (This is of course my state even when I’m well, though, so maybe not too much should be read into it…)

    I’m glad to see so much love for the pattern expressed here. Even without the chevrons it’s a classic pattern, but for the broadness of the chest in question I felt something extra was needed. Of course, you never know how these things will turn out, once you start mixing the ingredients! But I’m relieved to see my own feelings reflected in the comments. It’s a very easy pattern to keep track of, no need even to count rows—and of course no cables: just shows how effective a “simple” pattern can be.

    Tonight I might even start on the first shoulder strap!

    (And yes, I really do owe Yeats an apology… Sorry, Billy!)

    Thanks again to everyone for commenting, here or on Facebook.

  • Dave

    Glad to hear you are both on the mend

    • Gordon

      Thanks, Dave. Now I just need to shake off this cough. As the old rhyme goes:

      It’s not the cough
      That carries you off,
      It’s the coffin
      They carry you off in…

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