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Scarborough: 14 August

4W160815-1 Some old friends came to stay over the weekend – old in the sense that we’ve known them a long time, you understand, not that they are themselves elderly. (Though I am slowly beginning to wonder, given how spry Ian and Ruth seemed and how generally un-spry I am these days, whether some sort of reverse relativity effect may not be happening; and just as someone travelling in outer space will age more slowly than another on earth, whether I mayn’t be aging faster the closer I end up living to the north pole.)


We went to the lighter patch in the distance . . .

The weather was a little north pole-ish at times, too. We went to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on the British mainland, and the drizzly low cloud was so dark it felt as though God had put in a mezzanine floor, possibly with a view to sub-letting the upper atmosphere to angels for harp practice.

We met a nice German couple at the view point, hunched against the wind and grimly determined, having come this far, to make the most of it. “The cloud,” the man said, with a wave of his dripping arm, “is very…” He sighed and shook his head, searching for the mot juste … “Dense”. We agreed with him: it was dense.

4W160815-2And yet, as we were leaving, driving back down the coast past Brough Bay, the clouds parted and for a half an hour everything was bathed in brilliant sunshine, all nature suddenly coming to life. There were birds and bees (the wildlife kind, I mean; don’t go getting ideas); there may even have been a seal. It felt like someone had put a shilling in the meter and summer had clanked into gear. Then the moment passed: the clouds rolled back, the sun vanished, and nature packed up its tent and went home. As, in fact, did we.


. . . where the sun shone

I have divided the gansey and have started knitting the back. The gussets are halfway complete, placed on holders, and measure about 3 inches long. I have to pay attention: I get so used to the repetition of “knit two-purl two” that unless I’m careful I knit through the ladders at either side and am in danger, in moments of abstraction, of knitting it into the sofa cover too.

And now the weather outside is glorious, supposed to last till Friday (then rain), which hardly seems fair after so much grey and damp and cold. At Dunnet Head I tried to explain to our friends that it’s not always like that: “You should come back in summer,” I said. They reminded me politely that it is August; according to the Met Office summer has a fortnight left to run…

8 comments to Scarborough: 14 August

  • s

    I’m still amazed by the color of that project!!! I hope you’ll wear it in the fog because you’ll always be found!! You should be on the Wet Coast if you want sunshine. Man, it was so hot yesterday that only cold showers would help & it looks like another one today. People just go into hiding after 1:00 because it’s so hot. Since I face West, I close all the blinds, put on an audio book, take a cold shower & lay naked on my bed with the oscillating fan blowing on me . . .

    • Gordon

      Hi there, well, I’ll always be found in fog: partly because of my bright green gansey, and partly because I shall scream like a donkey snagged on an electric fence if I ever get stranded and isolated.

      I read the other day that one technique for sweltering heat is to take a hot water bottle, put some water in, freeze it and then snuggle up to it. (I’d like to say I’ve tried it myself, but up here I;d probably end up with toes amputated from frostbite…) Happy oscillating!

  • Jane

    Wow Gordon, what a fantastic view, what a wonderful place to live! If that was in the South, there’s a very good chance you would see at least half a dozen happy groups of walkers and quite possibly an ice cream van as well! It’s very nice in some ways, but there is an awful lot to be said for the quiet grandeur of nature.

    The gansey is looking really good, very elegant, and I do like that colour. I like the framing of the central pattern by the “ladder” at the sides, very nice. Take care!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, it’s a stunning location, perched on the northernmost tip of Britain, looking out over Orkney on a long peninsula of peat bog and rocky cliffs pounded by waves, puffins and gannets gliding below you, skimming the water or returning to their nests in the cliffs. Windy, though—an ice cream would probably detach itself from its cone and spatter your neighbour like an edible paintball gun pellet.

      I’ve always liked this pattern, though it is a little repetitive. But cumulatively it builds up into a very pleasing geometric effect and texture. Plus, it’s the only jumper you can also use as a cheese grater—it’s a win-win!

  • lorraine

    Gordon- I choose to believe that you have sent some rain our way at last. It’s a near monsoon, but hey, we’ll take it.

    Too hot of late for any Gansey knitting, but I hope to be back in the saddle soon. I think I am liking that green- is that a myth that a green gansey is bad luck?

    • Gordon

      Hello Lorraine, I’m glad you like the rain—I ordered it specially from Amazon. (It would have got there quicker but I ordered standard delivery to cut costs, sorry.)

      I didn’t realise that a green gansey meant bad luck. That would explain the anvil that landed on me the other day, then—I was wondering…

  • lorraine

    LOL- Was it an ACME anvil?

    I can’t remember where I came across that information. I have been reading alot of Gansey history and things like mirror-image cables are bad luck to sailors. It did come up that they are superstitious about the colour green too. If I find it, I will cite the quote.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lorraine – I’ll get that pesky roadrunner one of these days!

      I’m interested in superstitions, such as up here it used to be bad luck to stir your tea widdershins, that sort of thing, so if you do come across the quote please post it. But then, so many things are seen as bad luck by sailors—whistling, having bananas on board (or possibly minions, I forget), albatrosses, crashing into icebergs—that nothing would surprise me…

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