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Robin Hood’s Bay Cardigan: Week 3 – 11 May

More proof, if any were needed, that my life is being scripted by a writer superannuated from a 1970s sitcom, or possibly one of the minor Carry On films. It was a quiet evening at Reid Towers, and a drowsy stillness lay heavy on the air. I had emerged, pink and glowing, from the early evening bath. The thorny question of getting dressed now presented itself. A creature of habit, I usually put my clothes on starting at the top, working my way down, with various scenic detours along the way, to the feet. But on this occasion, possessed by a spirit of caprice, I decided to reverse the order, beginning with the socks. Taking care to keep out of the way of our large bedroom windows, which overlook both our neighbours’ gardens, I carefully selected a sock— a tasteful pale grey number—and began. 

Winter returns

Now, etiquette dictates that there are two ways for a gentleman to don a sock. Either you perch on the edge of a chair or bed to draw it on, or—what you might call the advanced level—you balance on the opposing leg and stoop to meet the other foot halfway. Rashly, I adopted the latter approach. On such decisions the fates of nations hang. Reader, the sock met an unexpected snag somewhere around the region of the big toe; and as I struggled to ease it past the obstacle I began to lose my balance. In danger of toppling like a felled redwood, I endeavoured to stay upright by executing a series of sideways lurches, like someone trying to master the pogo stick from illustrations in a book. At last my efforts were crowned with success: I managed to get my sock on and remain upright at roughly the same moment. Flushed with success, and still balanced precariously on one leg, clad only in a single sock, like a portly heron with a natty taste in footwear, I looked about me. It was then that I realised my hopping had placed me squarely in front of the window.

The Soldiers’ Tower, Wick

About a nanosecond later I met the astonished gaze of our neighbour who had evidently until that time been gardening. I don’t know that she actually saw me: her attention may have been caught by a noteworthy chaffinch in the plum tree beneath the window. All I can say is that she seemed to visibly age before my eyes, and her mouth kept opening and closing like a fish experiencing an existential crisis, much like I imagine the Virgin Mary looked when visited by the Angel Gabriel. (Though angels are notoriously pleasing to behold, whereas in a state of deshabille I resemble nothing so much as a life-size waxwork of Donald Trump that’s been left too close to the fire.) My only consolation is that she didn’t have a camera phone on her, in which case I’d have no choice other than to change my name and leave the country. As it is, I haven’t seen her for a few days: my working hypothesis is that she’s probably joined a convent to preserve what remains of her soul.

Laura in her gansey

So we avert our gaze and turn with relief to the current gansey. I’m making slow but steady progress up the body. It’s a gnarly pattern that requires you to pay attention, stitch by stitch, but the results speak for themselves. It’s a stunning pattern, the moss stitch and cables making for a cumulatively impressive result—and of course the natural yarn shows it to perfection. It’s a pattern that needs a light-coloured yarn to really shine. N.b., in its unblocked state the cables draw it in, so it looks narrower than it really is. We’ll just have to wait a few months to see it as it really is.

For now, however, it’s time for my bath; I mean, what could possibly go wrong…?

6 comments to Robin Hood’s Bay Cardigan: Week 3 – 11 May

  • Annie

    Hahaha – in appreciation I share my dear grandmother’s own tale that she would laugh while telling it: the house had a wide, covered porch across the front with the front door in the middle of the front. On one side was a big window of the living room, the other side a big window to the bedroom. So she was getting dressed when she peeked out to see who was on the porch. It was the preacher ( aren’t they always in these stories?). She hurried to finish dressing only to get her corset so twisted she fell to the floor and of course couldn’t get up with the twisted corset she was working on. And trying not to make noise so he wouldn’t look in the window. The end of the story is that she finally managed the corset, finished dressing, and rushed out to answer the door and greet the preacher. She said it was the first time in her life that she answered the front door without her hair brushed and with a red, sweaty face. Haha, I named a daughter after her for the fun.

  • =Tamar

    Definitely a Carry On film.

  • Dave

    Ooh er matron !
    Oh, I say…

  • Laura Kinnane-Brew

    Now that’s how to make people keep their distance!

  • Felicity

    Just for self defense, think of the lady as rehearsing her goldfish caricature for her improv class.

  • Bridget

    I might have to try this gansey. I’m a big proponent of both cables and moss stitch. (I use moss stitch on all my charity baby blankets.)
    That being said, I’m right with you on the sock thing. However, in my instance, it is putting on golf shoes. Sure hope I never get pulled over for being drunk, as I’d never pass the test on one leg or the other!

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