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Scarborough: 7 August


[N.B., This week’s photos not taken by Margaret…]

It’s August, Sunday afternoon, and outside it’s about 16ºc and the winds are gusting up to 60 mph. At the petrol station this morning I inadvertently dropped my receipt; it vanished in the direction of Denmark like the starship enterprise jumping into hyperspace. (I looked this up in Bumper Book of Caithness Euphemisms and this strength of wind qualifies as “a bit blowy, mebbe”.)

Yes, it’s high summer in the north Highlands (the other clues are the slate grey skies and the driving rain, and the sullen tourists wrapped up like Captain Scott’s sled crew). In Narnia, I seem to remember, it was always winter and never Christmas; here the dial seems to be stuck permanently on about the 5th of March and there’s never a talking lion around when you need one.IMG_3951

Of course, it’s not all bad—we’ve had a couple of days this year when the temperature reached the giddy heights of 21º. And it is one of the great compensations of living here: when the sun does come out the sea and the sky bounce the light around like a hall of mirrors, and it’s as though you’re living inside a stained glass window. (You can always tell when it’s a bright and sunny day, as the inhabitants stumble around the streets in a sort of daze, as though the council has slipped marijuana into the water instead of chlorine, staring wide-eyed and whispering in awed voices things like, “Dude, you can see everything” and “The sky…”)


Wick River, that day I didn’t need a scarf

Still, I’ve got a lot of knitting done—sunbathing not really being an option just now. I’ve started the gussets and the pattern: I’ll post a chart next time, hopefully, when tech support (aka Margaret) is back.

This is the classic Scarborough pattern, a yoke of double moss stitch flanked by a ladder at either side. I’ve always liked the look of it, though whether I can get through an entire yoke of knit two-purl two ad infinitum without clawing out my eyeballs remains to be seen. It’s the kind of pattern that should look good when it’s blocked, and the light strikes it just so, but till then rather appears as if I’m trying to knit green scrambled eggs.

8 Aug Fireworks 2

Fireworks by the river,or possibly a Martian invasion…

And now the wind is shaking the hedgerow that runs down the lane behind our house, rippling the leaves as it moves along the line, all the branches waving in unison as though a bunch of bored ents had decided to stage a Mexican wave, or reenact a Busby Berkeley musical while they waited for the entwives to return. Oh, and that reminds me—if anyone is reading this in Denmark and comes across a Tesco’s petrol receipt for Pump 5, would you please be so kind as to post it back to me when you get a chance…

8 Aug Fireworks 1

8 comments to Scarborough: 7 August

  • =Tamar

    That’s what the ladders are for, to break up the double moss stitch and give you a way to climb up to the shoulders. Maybe you could insert a little climbing man. No? How about a group of bundled-up tourists wearing dubblemossa hats, slogging across the double-moss stitch, acting out the Men of the Moss?
    Oh, well. Green is very appropriate for moss stitch, come to think of it.

    • Gordon

      Hello, Tamar—I like the idea of having little men climbing up the yoke, as though it was one of those climbing walls with handholds!

      The Men of the Moss are interesting, too—the texture of the pattern isn’t that far away from bark, now i come to think about it. I also reckon with a brown scarf this would make excellent camouflage, on the off chance a shoal of herring came inland up the River Wick, and a fisherman wanted to ambush them in local woodland. If we had any…

  • Sharon in Surrey

    Quitcher bellyaching, Gordon!! You only have a double moss yoke to finish I once knit a whole XXXXL sweater in double moss. A whole sweater with long sleeves!! It seemed like a good idea at the time and I finished it – getting snowed in for 10 days probably helped. I rather like the color of this one – it should light up your closet on the darkest day.
    Summer has dried up the mildew & mould here on the Wet Coast & my Jungle garden continues to burst it’s seams. We’re warm verging on hot most days with cool nights & no shortage of rain. I’ve let Oregano, Fennel & Lemon balm take over the drive & side yard – they self-seed every year – and thus single-handedly increased the Bumblebee population by a thousand-fold!! It is the first year in many that I’ve even SEEN Bumble bees!!

    • Gordon

      Hi Sharon, I’ll have you know I was bellyaching champion at school three years running, and went on to take a degree in griping, majoring in grumbling and French. Or possibly in French. It was hard to tell sometimes.

      I think I saw a bee the other day—it was emerging from a flower when a sudden gust of wind took it, and all it had time for was a brief look of surprise before it vanished at about 50 mph. (I may have caught a brief cry of “Wheee!” on the breeze, or it could have been my imagination.)

      Best of luck with the herbs and the bees! And with the (sigh) summer…

  • Jane

    Such a lovely colour and coming along so nicely. It is the regular movement of wool front to back and so on, with little variety of pattern, that gets to one! But, I am sure that this is as nothing to the knitter of the Fergus Ferguson gansey! I love the photo of the gusset shaping, beautiful. Take care!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, yes, why didn’t they anyone me before that they made yarn in this colour? As soon as I saw it I wanted to do this pattern in it.

      And I think you’re right, it’s the repetition that gets to me after a while, I can feel my fingers turning slowly into claws! Oh, well, only another 8 inches to go…

  • Inge Sørensen

    Oh what a shame about the receipt. I’ll keep my eyes open for it. But maybe it is already gone because it is also a very windy weather here. 10 to 15 meters per second and a little sunshine between all the rain. Only 15 – 18 degrees C. It hasn’t been really summer in Denmark since the beginning of june.
    Btw the Wick gansey is really amazing.
    I have my first gansey on the needles in Scottish Fleet and it is a little hard for my hands, but I’m keeping on and look forward to the yoke.
    Best regards Inge

    • Gordon

      Hello Inge, sorry to hear you’re getting this miserable weather too—that’s about the same temperatures as here. Still, we often get a lovely autumn, maybe late September or October, a real Indian summer, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

      I think I know what you mean about it being hard on the hands. And when I took a break to knit a couple of Lopi sweaters a year or so back I couldn’t believe how tiny the gansey needles were, and how the yarn seemed thinner than cotton thread! But I’ve gradually acclimatised back to the small scale. Don’t think i could keep switching, though—I plan to do a bunch more ganseys then turn my attention to other things, at least for a while.

      Best of luck!

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