You see, we’ve started an ambitious new web project, a blog, in which we’re going to tell the history of the county of Caithness throughout the Second World War in real time, week by week, using only original sources. These include archives such as diaries, police and Home Guard records of air raids and submarine sightings, council minutes, local newspapers and school log books. Now, given that the Second World War lasted some six years, we’re talking possibly three hundred weeks’ worth of entries to write – but hey, you’ve got to aim high, right?
The point is to show what daily life was really like for ordinary people. So we’ve already found out that the blackout was imposed even before Britain declared war on Germany; that lessons were disrupted because schoolchildren were distracted by planes flying overhead; that Wick’s fishing fleet was confined to harbour for the first weeks because of fear of U-boats; and a curfew was imposed on children. (We’ve also discovered that Wrigley’s chewing gum helps ease tension in times of stress – a claim that nowadays might get the truth in advertising people interested…)
Anyway, you can see the blog if you’re interested over at Caithness at War. It will be updated each Monday, just like this one.
So much for the Home Front – now for the Gansey Front; and of course Back. (By the way, did you know that the use of the word “front” for a military campaign only came in at the turn of the 19th century, borrowing the term from the new science of meteorology? Before then it was a “line”.)
Where was I? Oh, yes. I have finished the welt, just over two inches of garter stitch knitted in the round, with the usual fake seams. I’ve now embarked on the one inch of plain knitting before the pattern starts (I’ll chart out the body pattern in next week’s blog.) The steek is becoming clearly visible, 18 stitches of stockinette with a purl stitch delineator on either side. I like the curve of this kind of welt. It reminds me of the way each stage of a Saturn V rocket bulges out from the one above. In fact I am now inspired to develop and patent the world’s first Saturn V gansey costume for children, worn head to toe; the only downside being it would resemble a giant novelty condom, with perhaps unfortunate misunderstandings and lawsuits to follow.
As I mentioned in the comments last week, the problem with so much purling was that it highlighted a flaw in my technique – so my right index finger kept catching my left thumbnail. Not that each contact was especially painful in itself – rather, the cumulative effect was unpleasant, like the water torture, drop by drop.
Right. Back to work to research another week of Caithness At War. Right now things look black for our heroes – I do hope it has a happy ending.