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(Navy) Week 4: 19 June

On Wednesday it will be the solstice and the longest day. The real meaning of the summer solstice is, of course, that we’re already halfway to Christmas—it’s the first wobble of the yearly spinning top, a sort of memento mori for the summer. Don’t enjoy this too much, it seems to say: yes, that punnet of strawberries still lies ahead, that lazy afternoon on the riverbank hoping to catch a glimpse of Ratty and Moley out for a row, but so eventually does that pair of extra-thick thermal long johns that make you look like an over-inflated balloon animal.

In Wick the sun will rise at 4.04 am and set at 10.23 pm. All across Britain people will gather at sites laden with sacred significance, such as Stonehenge and Milton Keynes, and watch the sun rise in perfect alignment with ancient symbols, viz., stone monoliths and a shopping mall respectively. In accordance with Caithness tradition, here the ritual will be slightly different: instead we’ll take an astrolabe and a set of astronomical tables and try to work out where the hell the sun is, since it will probably be hidden behind a wall of grey cloud.

In gansey related news, I’ve almost finished the plain knitting of the body. My ideal length for a gansey is about 28 inches: 4 inches for the welt, 12 for the body, 3 for the start of the yoke and the gussets, 8 for the rest of the yoke, and finally one inch for the shoulder strap. At least I’ve now decided on a pattern (it’s one of my favourites but not one I’ve knitted for many years); all will be revealed next week.

Grand Union Canal near Gayton

And now I see the sun is out after all. I suppose I really should go outside and enjoy it; but then all these Christmas cards won’t write themselves…

7 comments to (Navy) Week 4: 19 June

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon,
    many thanks for the post. I was looking at the picture showing a single lilac flower in the meadow. It seems to me that it is a wild orchid . We here is Finland have similar ones. As to the length of the days: sunrise in Helsinki 21st June : 4.03. sunset: 23.09 .
    Best regards, I am waiting for the new pattern .

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, I am reliably informedly Margaret that yes, it is indeed a wild orchid (which always reminds me of the famous Irish folk song, “And it’s no nay never, no nay never no more, shall I smell a wild orchid, no nay never no more…” Though now I come to write it down it’s possible I may have mis-remembered it…)

      I hope you have a day of glorious unbroken sunshine tomorrow!

  • =Tamar

    I think I’ll try that excuse. Not that my family expect things to be on time, not since I mailed Christmas cards in April one year…
    You are as always an inspiration, proof that if you just keep at it, eventually even really long tasks get done.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, to be on the safe side as far as Christmas cards are concerned, it’s probably best to post early and post often. I tend to think of ganseys as a process of knitting that takes several months, and every now and then a finished gansey drops off the end of the needles, as much to my surprise as anyone else’s. The challenge I have just now is that the antidepressants I’m taking contain a strong sedative, and in order to actually wake up in the morning I have to take them at teatime the day before—but this means that as the evening wears on I find it harder and harder to stay awake and actually knit at all…

  • Jane

    Lovely work Gordon, a smashing colour and beautiful stitchwork. I am looking forward to the pattern part enormously. It is nice to revisit old favourites. I have a few patterns for small things that I knock out fairly regularly, very satisfying.

    I am lucky enough to get the odd wild orchid in the garden, aided by the mower being out of action quite often. I have recorded them for the county which always makes me feel rather pleased. You know, I find the eyelids drooping mid evening onwards most nights, you are most definitely not alone, take care!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, I have about 5 ganseys I’ve knit for other people, or which I knit a few decades ago, that I want to have versions of for my own “collection”. So over the next year or so I hope to revisit them, while still trying new patterns from Wick and knitting ganseys for friends and family. One day I’ll run out, but not yet!

  • Shared! I’m pretty sure a few friends would like to read this.

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