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Scotland, Week 3: 28 August

Every now and then I go to the doctor with some minor ailment—a headache, say, or a nagging cough—and come away finding the stakes have been raised rather more than I’d expected. It’s a bit like going to check your balance at a cash machine only to be told that your card has been confiscated, your assets frozen, and to stay where you are as an armed response unit has already been dispatched to your location.

One example of this came many years ago when I lived in Wales, and went to the doctor presenting the symptoms of a severe migraine only to be told brightly: “Gosh, you’re awfully young to have a brain tumour. We’d better get that checked out.” (This was one of the very rare occasions I was actually grateful to have had “just” a migraine.) Another occurred the other day.

Got milk?

I’ve had a cough-cum-cold for a few weeks and it won’t go away, so off I went to the doctor. My morale, low to begin with, plummeted when I pulled up my shirt only for what I laughably call my waist to overflow my belt line like over-yeasted bread rising in a very hot oven. I took some deep breaths while he listened to my chest, answered several questions, and then he delivered his verdict. “Well,” he said, “your lungs seem clear, you’re not a smoker and you’re not coughing up blood, so it’s probably not lung cancer.”

Well, it hadn’t of course occurred to me it might be, any more than gangrene, say, or tennis elbow. I jerked like a gaffed salmon and he hastened to reassure me: probably a virus, give it a few more weeks and it should go away, try using a nasal spray. I departed clutching a prescription and counting my blessings (I stopped at ten; any more and I’d have had to take my shoes and socks off).

Meanwhile I continue the ascent of mount gansey: I’m about three-quarters up the gussets, and have paused to make base camp while I acclimatise. I’ve opted for an open diamond pattern for the centre border panel, the median strip that separates the body from the yoke patterns like an amuse bouche between courses at an expensive dinner, or C-3PO’s tummy.

I’m off to another meeting in London next week. It gives me an opportunity to spend some time with my family, but as this gansey is now too bulky to carry onto a plane I’ll be starting the next one instead. But when I get back I hope to make a start on the yoke; we’ll see. Meanwhile my cough is slowly improving; sometimes, as Freud might have put it, a cough is just a cough—probably…


Border pattern

The diamond pattern in the border comes from page 61 of Sabine Domnick’s “Cables, Diamonds, Herringbone: Secrets of Knitting Traditional Fishermen’s Sweaters“, and is another Scottish Fleet design, so entirely appropriate here. The height of the border is dictated by the number of rows in the yoke pattern (about which more next week), but as it happened I was able to use it just as it appears in the book. There are 12 diamonds per side, each of 13 stitches, with a plain stitch between each; and two plain stitches either side of the seams.

2 comments to Scotland, Week 3: 28 August

  • =Tamar

    It’s so hard to tell whether they’re just generically covering themselves for all possibilities or whether someone else somewhere missed something and now everyone is required to make a worst-possible-case comment. Regardless, even a cold is annoying so take care. If it’s not too late, I suggest wearing a face mask in the airport and on the plane (any time you aren’t being identified, I mean) – I have found that it helped me stop having airplane-air sore throats.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar, when God was handing out metabolisms I seem to have been somewhere near the back of the queue! All the good ones were taken by the time I got to the front.

    I reckon I’m safe this trip, as I see myself at the moment more on the supply side of germs for a change!

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