I’ve always enjoyed the daft things sports reporters sometimes say live on air. My favourite from my childhood was someone commentating on an Olympic table tennis match on television who said, “It’s almost as if each player is challenging the other to hit the ball back over the net.” So imagine my delight when I caught the BBC radio commentary on the Japanese Grand Prix this morning, and the commentator said that the modern racing car steering wheel was covered with complicated technical buttons—”but the best drivers know what most of them do…”
I’ve needed cheering up this week, since I pulled a muscle in my neck on Wednesday night (I think yawning can now be classed as a martial art) and have been in quite a lot of pain ever since. When it was really bad I couldn’t lift my arms higher than my chest, which turned even simple operations like donning a pullover into an impression of a man with a dislocated shoulder trying to escape from a straightjacket. In order to put my cap on I had to wave it vaguely in the general direction of my neck, and then lower my head and sort of butt the cap like a goat trying to force its way through a hedge. If I was lucky the cap rested on top of my head as securely as the rowboat perches on the back of a surfacing whale in Moby Dick.
A stiff neck is of course the gift that keeps on giving since it provides endless mirth to one’s loved ones and colleagues, knowing as they do that it’s not really serious. (And if you were wondering, no, faced with a person whose head lolls like a puppet’s with the strings cut, tilting your head to the angle of the suffering person’s and giggling does not raise you to the level of wit achieved by such as Oscar Wilde—trust me on this…)
Which is one of the reasons why I haven’t made a lot of progress this week, since my standard knitting technique involves flapping my elbows like an overstimulated 12 year-old impersonating a headless chicken’s death sprint, and that’s quite tricky when you can’t move your arms much. (The other reason was a blood blister on the ball of my right thumb when, inspired by the spirit of Laurel and Hardy, I was putting together at work a display stand which had intersecting struts like tent poles to hold it up, and—you can see where this is going, can’t you?—I carelessly left my thumb in the exact spot where empty space would have been most useful; it got punched like a bus ticket.)
Still, I’ve got an inch or so of the gansey done, enough to finish a whole diamond and start to turn the zig into a zag. I rather like the wide panels on the body—they remind me happily of the big squares you get in really fancy white chocolate bars, the ones that need cardboard to stop them breaking. (Memo to self: chocolate ganseys. Mmmm.)
I’ve made a few mistakes as well, which Margaret has had to go back and fix for me—with my secondary cataract getting worse I’m operating on one and a half eyes most of the time now, and it’s the good eye that’s blurred. I think of it as knitting archaeology-cum-surgery, as she has to peel back the layers, go deep, and then perform complicated operations to the patient’s lower intestine. (Memo to self: haggis ganseys. Mmmyyeeuurrgghh.)
There’s another stunning gansey from Judit to share on the Gallery, a combination of traditional patterns blended to her own design. Congratulations again, and I think Henry Ford could have taken a few tips on productivity from her!
Finally, to return to the felicitous phrases of our friends in the media, I was watching the BBC news just before I wrote this. The newsreader solemnly announced that the provision of care for the homeless was—wait for it—a “postcode lottery”. The thought of which will keep me warm through the long winter nights to come…