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Scarborough / Wick (Donald Murray): Week 2 – 1 April

The clocks have just gone forward, which is always a shock to the system. Sure, you get an extra hour of daylight in the evening, but the mornings are the equivalent of nature throwing off the duvet, spraying water in your face and shouting, “Surprise!”. (Actually, to be fair, most of my mornings feel like that anyway, but you get the general idea.)

York Minster, south side

I’ve never fully got my head round daylight savings time. I just assume it’s got something to do with Einstein’s relativity, or possibly cows—or possibly not. When I was younger it was a source of some irritation every six months to manually twiddle every clock in the house forward or back an hour; now I find I only have three clocks that require a manual adjustment, and one of those is in my car. All the others are apparently sentient, and probably have an opinion on Brexit. Even the central heating just “knows” the correct time. I feel that the AI enslavement of humanity is creeping closer, one radiator at a time.

I found myself standing in the lounge this morning adjusting the hands of a carriage clock and feeling like one of those bygone workers of old, a cordwainer perhaps, or a lamplighter, a fish curer, or a knocker up (best not to ask). I imagined myself getting a job in a museum, explaining to parties of enthralled schoolchildren how we used to tell the time before computers were invented, starting with dandelions and working my way up to sundials, and reflected that I have now lived long enough for my life to become its own heritage. I thought with a surge of pride, Ha, I may not know how to use WhatsApp or Twitter, or even be sure what they are, but I can adjust the hands on a carriage clock: take that, technology! And then it dawned on me that I was using the display on my mobile phone to tell me what time to set the hands to…

Stone balls, Edinburgh

In gansey news, it’s been a heads-down just-get-on-with-it kind of week. It’s week two of my perhaps rash attempt to knit two ganseys simultaneously, and already the navy gansey is pulling ahead. The is partly because it’s more of the Wendy chunkier yarn, so there are fewer stitches and rows. But I’m also just knitting it more. The Wick pattern is a long-term project, just a couple of rows a night at the moment.

Rooftop cat sculpture, York

Finally this week, the sad news that Shane Rimmer, the actor who voiced Scott Tracey in Thunderbirds, has died. He was a voice of my childhood, and what a distinctive voice it was. Though even as a child I was troubled by the grammatical implications of the Thunderbirds slogan, “Thunderbirds are go!” Shouldn’t it be, I wondered, “Thunderbirds are going”? Or possibly “Thunderbirds have gone” (or even, in Northamptonshire dialect, “Thunderbirds have went”)? But I looked it up. Turns out, in military jargon, it means “Thunderbirds are now doing something which was previously discussed, and we’re not referring to it by name for reasons of operational security”. Who knew? (Other than the military, obviously.)

Anyway, tune in next week to see how my ganseys are go. Going. Went. Whatever…

16 comments to Scarborough / Wick (Donald Murray): Week 2 – 1 April

  • Lois

    My cocker spaniel quite approves of the time change, it means he gets fed an hour earlier. But then comes the autumn change, and somebody is not very happy about having to wait for his supper. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at that time, I find him parading back and forth across the lawn with a banner that reads “ Dogs of the world unite!”

  • Camilla Trondsen

    I have long railed against changing the clocks twice a year, and have been heartily laughed at for my troubles. My opinion is, if you want an hour more daylight at the end of the day, rearrange your schedule and get up an hour earlier. But leave me out of it. As to dogs, I fed mine at 5 pm standard time, 6 pm daylight time. They were all happy.

    I have a gansey question. I’ve started the Cordova gansey in Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book Knitting Ganseys. I’m using the Frangipani yarn you wrote about a while ago, I am getting the correct gauge with the correct US 1.5 needles (2.5 mm). I am just starting the yoke pattern. I have managed to bend the first needle I chose (an Addi-type metal circular); last night, I broke its replacement (Knitter’s Pride Karbonz circular) at the join of the needle and cable. In my 60-plus years of knitting, I have broken needles before, but very rarely and never in the same sweater. Any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong, before I embark on needle number three?

    I am very new to your writing, and am enjoying it mightily! I call my sister (a non-knitter) to read bits to her, and she loves it, too. This gansey I am making is the first sweater I have made for myself in three decades, and I am delighted with the way it looks so far. Thank you for reminding me of these fascinating patterns, and sharing your life with us!


    • Tina Scudder

      I thought it was just me. Started my first Gansey and am using 3mm Sympfonie interchangeables and have managed to break 2 needle tips and haven’t reached the yoke yet. After the first breakage I managed to find a supplier in Brazil and bought another set, so at the moment I have 1 whole set and 2 broken tips. I think it has something to do with the tight tension. Am now determined to finish the sweater with cheap fixed circular needles.

    • Gordon

      Hello Camilla, great to hear from you!

      I have broken needles before, but not for a few years. There does seem to be a pressure point at the join between the metal and plastic. A tight gauge can lead to stitches getting snagged at the join sometimes, but I don’t think it’s you – I think it’s just bad luck.

      For what it’s worth I use Hiya Hiya needles these days and they seem pretty good to me.

      Cheers, Gordon

    • Lynne

      I am a knitter in Canada and I have used Addi needles for lace projects but I feel the tips of them are more fragile than a less expensive generic needle and Addi isn’t my choice for the Frangipani ganseys I’ve knit on 2.5 mm needles. My choice is Knitpicks metal circulars, I’ve knit six ganseys and, knock on wood, none have broken – yet.

      • Lois

        I also use the Knitpicks circulars with the wooden tips and they have lasted through several ganseys and a host of other knits, from lace to bulky weight.

  • Dave

    To quote the cows this morning, “What the heck are you doing here at this ungodly hour ?”

  • =Tamar

    We changed the clocks a while ago over here and the last one I changed was the one in the car, a week later.

    I like the huge stone geometry balls reproducing the ancient ones which were much smaller.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar, I initially assumed that was fossilised dinosaur poo, but looking again you may be right…

  • Charles Cameron Carruthers

    Have you any gansey patterns for Dunbar and Eyemouth??

  • Karen Ellis

    My local school has had to organise digital clocks for exam rooms as none of the students can read an analogue clockface…

    • =Tamar

      Reading an analogue clockface should be put on the curriculum and on the exams. My niece taught herself to tell time by the analogue clock when she was three years old. It’s not hard.

    • Gordon

      I now have an image of children playing “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” and the child playing Mr Wolf says, “I don’t know, the big hand is pointing straight up and the little hand’s over to the right…”

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