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Matt Cammish Week 3: 3 October

I’m afraid it’s a shorter blog this week, as I’ve cut the index finger of my right hand. I don’t mean to say that it’s bleeding so heavily that I’m faint from loss of blood—though the plaster does rather resemble the Japanese flag, and if you want to know what bath time was like just think of David’s famous painting of the Death of Marat— ‘tis but a scratch, as the Black Knight said. But it lies right across the knuckle and typing’s not altogether easy.


24 hours ago, they were on the tree…

I was cooking at the time and sliced it on the lid of a tin of kidney beans. It was a few moments before I realised blood was dripping; luckily, chilli’s supposed to be red. (Memo to self: won’t need so much salt this time.)

And it’s officially autumn now: we’re past the solstice, there’s early morning dew on the fields, the cricket season’s ended and the weather’s all over the place. On Wednesday we had driving rain and winds up to 60 mph—on Tuesday evening our plum tree was heavy with hundreds of soft plums, ripe for the picking; 24 hours later the tree was bare and the gravel underneath seemed to have been smeared with plum jam.


South Head, Wick Bay

But it turns out we used up the week’s allocation of wind in one day, for by the weekend there wasn’t a breath, not a cloud, just blue sky from horizon to horizon and that dazzling, thin autumnal light that tells you it’s time to start thinking about dusting off the old thermal underwear.

Still, come rain or shine, there’s knitting to be done. Somehow, without my noticing, I’ve reached the gussets and—be still my beating heart—almost finished them. In a couple of days I’ll be dividing for front and back, and then watch out. (The gussets are my usual increase of two stitches every four rows, but starting four rows earlier with a single increase of another purl stitch on the fake seam, to make the first proper increase easier.)gusset

Incidentally, out of curiosity I looked up words that rhyme with gusset, and it seems there’s only one: russet. You can do it with two or more words, like fuss it, but that’s cheating. So, if anyone feels like writing a sonnet in praise of gussets anytime, maybe think about haiku instead


Honour guard of sheep, Camster

And now I face my latest challenge: how to knit with a plastered finger sticking out at right angles like the gun barrel of a tank; given that when I tried earlier I was about as adroit as someone learning to untie knotted rope with a marlinspike.

The other challenge, namely how I do the washing up without all the dishes coming out pink, can wait till later…

6 comments to Matt Cammish Week 3: 3 October

  • lorraine

    Gordon- Hope it was just a flesh wound.

    I have picked up my son’s Gansey and am happily working on the back. Nice to be back in the saddle after a horrific summer.

    ..and, the Russet is my favorite apple.

  • Gordon

    Hello Lorraine,

    Yes, it’s a ridiculously tiny cut. Though, joking apart, it took 2 handkerchiefs and 3 sticking plasters before it stopped bleeding—yet more proof, if any were needed, that I am the lost heir of the Romanovs, and am the rightfully born Tsar of Russia. (On the other hand, my other evidence is essentially a fondness for Dostoyevsky, so perhaps not conclusive…)

    Best of luck with your son’s gansey!

    There once was a man with a gusset
    Who decided to snack on a russet,
    When there came a wild boar
    Which he hit with the core,
    And once stunned he was able to truss it.

  • Jane

    Ha ha, wonderful poem, Gordon, and the gansey is just fantastic, flying along and looking great.

    Cuts like that are a nuisense, not very big or deep, and split open again at the slightest provocation! I have from time to time, and especially in the winter, used a Carex hand wash liquid with silver in it to promote healing, quite good!

    What lovely autumn days we are having, long may they last!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, my current plan is to claim it’s an old duelling scar, which I picked up at university while defending my then girlfriend’s honour. (I got this scratch, but my opponent had to suffer the indignity of having “Rae Compton” carved by my rapier onto the fingers of both hands…)

      Our lovely autumn days lasted till Sunday evening, since when it’s been winds gusting up to 30 mph, cloudy and cold. It’s not as much fun as you might think.

  • Sharon in Surrey

    If you catch those kinds of cuts right away, you can use crazy glue to stick them back together!! Yes, crazy glue. Then just rest the finger for a day or two – no knitting!! Keep it out of water until healed. The hospitals often use crazy glue instead of stitches for kids’ faces – you know the old split eyebrow/chin/forehead?? – yup, crazy glue. We used to paint over paper cuts with clear nail polish to seal them. They healed up right away.

    • Gordon

      Hi Sharon, now, if only I’d known that before I borrowed the office stapler this evening—I’d have saved myself quite a few staples as well as a trip to the hospital…

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