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Lopi Interlude VI: 27 December

SF151228-1And so we say goodbye to another year, and prepare ourselves for whatever 2016 has to throw at us. ‘There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so’, as Hamlet said; clearly the words of someone who never had to eat Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner.

2015 has been another busy old year on the blog, with over 112,000 pages viewed by some 32,000 visitors—that’s more than 600 people tuning in per week. So thank you all for dropping by.


Be careful what you wish for

I hope you had a pleasant Christmas. Ours could have been better, all things considered, what with the oven door coming apart in my hand on Christmas Day followed by a dramatic gearbox failure when we tried to go for a spin to John O’Groats (it felt for a minute as though we’d run over a leprechaun, or one of Santa’s elves who’d nipped out for a quiet cigarette break by the side of the road). On the other hand we got to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, so the cosmic balance was restored.

The festivities began for me with another trip to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness on Christmas Eve, this time to have some warty spot-things looked at. There were two on my face that looked as though a couple of houseflies had decided to settle down there and start a family. The consultant zapped them with a freeze spray (from a canister that looked as though it was designed to extinguish electrical fires), and now they look like two house flies in urgent need of burial…


Breaking waves at John o’Groats

He told me they were all quite harmless, though, and then said I had “the wrong kind of skin”—well, of course, I could have told him that, along with the wrong kind of teeth, eyes, immune system and, for want of a better word, hair. He suggested I stay out of the sun, then peered at my file again to see where I lived—on reading the name of Wick he thought a moment before adding, “should the situation arise”.

SF151225-1So here we are, the Lopi interlude is at an end, and I have two pullovers to show for it, the latest of which looks as though I’ve killed and skinned one of Chewbacca’s nephews. This one still has to be washed and blocked and then converted into a cardigan by Margaret, and we’ll post an update on the gruesome process in due course (caution: may involve scissors).

We’re going to be spending New Year with my parents in Northamptonshire–with the small matter of a 600 mile-drive of to get there—so we’ll be offline for a few days. But we’ll hopefully be back on 4 January when I’ll be starting my next gansey project in Frangipani pewter grey. See you then!

Wishing you a happy 2016 from Gordon and Margaret.

15 comments to Lopi Interlude VI: 27 December

  • Gail

    Brussel sprouts – yum!

  • Nigel

    I’m with Gail. Yum Yum

  • Judit M/ Finland

    Save trip to Northamptonshire ! See you in happy 2016 !

  • Dave

    The gearbox and oven thing is par for the course for Christmas. Over the years we have had boilers bursting, gas supllies failing and TVs giving up the ghost – hmmm, this year that could have been a positive advantage. Have a great new year Gordon and Margaret – see you in 2016


  • =Tamar

    Have a great year! I have vowed to have everything mechanical examined during the summer from now on.

  • Sharon in Surrey

    I know what you mean – my car alarm locked me out & then spent a week at the mechanic working like a top. Sometimes I hate cars!!! Have a safe drive & a Happy New Year.

  • Jane

    The electrics let us down this year, much panic, and the shower broke, or rather broke a bit more, about par for the course! Good work on the Lopi, look forward to cardiganification! Nice Brussels. All the best for 2016, first footings, lumps of coal, etc!

  • Lois

    Just digging out from our first major snowstorm of the winter. Last week the golfers were out on green grass. Go figure.

    I’m working on traditional double knit mittens, the patterns have been passed down over generations in my Canadian side of the family. My grandmother always made me a pair for Christmas. Sadly under-appreciated at my age then.

    There was an interview with a little Syrian refugee boy on TV a couple of weeks ago. When the interviewer asked him what he would like to have, he said “mittens”! The reporter, rather taken aback, asked why. “Because you can’t throw snowballs without mittens.” That little lad is going to make a good Canadian! Hope he got his wish.

  • Dianna Rubidge

    Happy New Year to you both.

    May 2016 be full of woolly goodness.

    Here in unusually warm Saskatchewan I am knitting away and thinking of washing fleece.

  • Cathy

    Happy New Year!

  • Gordon

    … And a happy new year to all! And thanks for the comments which I’ve read but not been in a position to reply to.

    Normal service will be resumed next week. See you then!

  • =Tamar

    Rambling around the net, not even looking for them, I came across various statements about brussels sprouts. Such as:

    Brassicas contain a harmless chemical called PTC which most people can’t taste but if you can it’s unpleasantly bitter. It’s a genetic thing. The general rule for leaf brassicas is the darker the green, the more PTC. Get the ones that are small and quite yellow.

    Sprouts always taste better after the first frost (some sort of
    natural vegetable antifreeze which contains sugars). Also, though
    overcooking is bad, they’re pretty horrid undercooked
    … cut a cross into the stem end to ensure even cooking.

    Maybe fresh ones could be put into the freezer overnight
    to simulate a frost.

    After that, the suggestions tend to involve other ingredients, which you might try after those ingredients have been tested.

    Roast them with olive oil, garlic, and pancetta
    or roast them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
    or slice them in half and shred the leaves apart and pan sauté them with olive oil, shallots, pancetta/bacon or pine nuts.

    cook them in soup–many kinds will do, such as split pea soup, barley
    soup–for the last half hour of cooking. What happens is that the brussel sprouts add a deeper flavour to the soup, and–miracle of miracles!–the brussel sprouts themselves taste delicious, because they absorb the flavours in the soup.

  • Eve

    Thank you for the blog which I’ve only discovered this year, informative and reliably amusing. I’m revving up to make a proper gansey, last year was preparation and research. i e why I found your blog, and some Sanquhar gloves on 1.75mm for acclimatisation and the next few months will be helping the recipient achieve optimum size as he’s going to have to wear it for years and it’ll be quicker if he sheds the winter bulge, then I hope it’ll be so robust that it’ll act like a corset! Hoping to cast on in the spring swatching permitting. Also on the sprout front KING of veg especially good as cold leftovers in a sandwich with mayo. Happy New Year

  • Silverclose

    Instructions for Christmas sprouts:
    1) Ask family what they would prefer instead of sprouts. Cook and enjoy green peas, green beans and broccoli.
    2) Rinse and chop into quarters. Feed to sheep. If sheep will not eat them, place directly into compost bin.

  • Gordon

    Hi again – just back from New Year hols and far too many comments to do justice to. But thanks to everyone once again.

    I’ve discovered that sprouts are fine, so long as they’re cooked till they’re mushy. If they crunch I can’t eat them—if they’re soggy i can have them in soups, stews or even as a side dish with vinegar. Go figure—I am British after all! (Though Silverclose’s approach is still tempting…)

    Eve, great to hear from you. Best of luck with your gansey and if we can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line. As someone whose weight has fluctuated down the years, I can definitely say that they do work as corsets—if Captain Kirk had been captain of the fishing vessel Enterprise it’d have been a lot easier for him to look trim while fighting Klingons!

    All the best,

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