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Scottish Fleet Cardigan: Week 5 – 28 September

“I ‘gin to be aweary of the sun,” Macbeth declares. (This has always struck me as a curious observation from someone who has his castle in Inverness, endless sunshine not exactly being the USP of the north Highlands; but then, Shakespeare put a coastline on Bohemia, the equivalent of giving Iowa a navy, so who knows?) Where was I? Oh yes, the sun: we’ve passed the solstice, and so the world begins its slow descent into darkness, madness and despair, also known as the party conference season.

Other than the solstice, this last week has also marked two of the more bizarre national days: Ghost Hunting Day and Fish Amnesty Day. I’m a supporter of amnesties for fish: even recidivist herring deserve a second chance. Ghost hunting, though, is a little more problematic. The question of bait is easy: if Halloween teaches us anything, it’s that the best thing to attract the undead is chocolate (actually, now think of it, it works on the living too; damn, now I’m hungry). But then, what do you do with all the ghosts once you’ve caught them—release them back into the wild? What happens if they follow you home and decide to move in, haunting your sock drawer? John Donne, a poet with a one-track mind which, as the saying goes, was a dirt track, threatens, “Then shall my ghost come to your bed”; not an appealing thought, unless maybe as a spectral hot water bottle. No, both are safe from me, and every day is fish and ghost amnesty day as far as I’m concerned.

In gansey news, I’m three-quarters up the back with the shoulders in sight. I would have made more progress but I made a schoolboy error with the flags one row a few inches back and Margaret offered to correct the mistake, rather than just rip it out. Well, as the Buddha observed, no good deed goes unpunished: like Brexit it turned out to be rather more complicated than it had first appeared, and by the time the scaffolding eventually came down and the welder put away two full days had passed. Still, I’m on holiday for the next couple of weeks and will hopefully soon make up the time lost.

Sarclet Harbour

I always find autumn is a good season to take stock and evaluate where you are with things. As Gandalf says to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us”. Though I was interested to read that Tolkien’s first draft of that scene is a little different to the version that was published:

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. What have you done with yours, for instance?”
Frodo considered. “Well, last year I beat Fredegar Bolger to first prize at the county fair to see how many Doritos you could shove up your nose.”
“That wasn’t exactly what I meant—”
“I got a dozen up there,” Frodo added smugly. “Fatty only got nine. They got wedged in so tight in one nostril he had to go to the hospital.”
“Look, I’m talking about the return of the Dark Lord here!”
“Don’t you want know how they got them out?”
“No, of course I don’t—” Gandalf hesitated. “How did they?”
“Well, apparently you stick a straw up the other nostril and blow really hard, and—”
“Right, that’s it! Never work with children and hobbits my agent said, but would I bloody listen?”
“Still more’n you’d manage,” Frodo muttered.
“What?”
“It’s more than you would manage,” Frodo repeated rebelliously.
“Did I hear that correctly? As you seriously challenging me, Gandalf the Grey, servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor, Maia of Valinor, to a competition to see who can cram the most potato chips up their nose?”
“Er, well, when you put it like that—”
“You’re on. Pass that bag!”

In retrospect, maybe the final version is better…

10 comments to Scottish Fleet Cardigan: Week 5 – 28 September

  • The inside of your brain is a curious place..and very entertaining….I did notice how dark it was this evening…making a mistake on such complex patterns is easily achievable.. I imagine…your patience is heroic…I love the idea ofghosts haunting your sock draw….an image that is a bit like an earworm hard to get rid of….thanks again for your wit..it is uplifting xxmeg

  • Gordon

    Hi Meg, the thing is, looking from the inside of what passes these days for my mind, this seems normal… 🙂

  • =Tamar

    I recall that the first time I knit a cabled sweater, I found an error on a sleeve about fourteen inches down from where I was at the time. I dropped down just the stitches that needed to be fixed, but since I goofed the first time, I had to do it twice. Still not sure I got it right, but nobody’s noticed for mumbleyears, so it’s good.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, I always find it interesting that mistakes I’ve made myself are clear as day to me, but apparently invisible to everybody else unless I point them out! But they drive me mad.

  • Nicola Bielicki

    My first comment on this blog (despite many months of reading it) and like Meg I am always entertained by Gordon’s mind.
    It was because of you Gordon that I started knitting my first gansey 2 years ago from the Mary Wright book. Sorry to say I am now on the home run (I’m so much slower than you) but tragically am running out of Wendy yarn. Is there a special place where odd balls hang out ? (I’m talking about yarn, not you !). Keep up the entertaining and a cup of coffee is on its way.

    • Gordon

      Hi Nicola, great to hear from you! I keep meaning to put up a legal disclaimer absolving myself from the consequences but keep forgetting… And many thanks for the contribution, which is always welcome.

      What dye lot and colour is your Wendy yarn?

  • Nicola Bielicki

    Thank you Gordon.It’s navy, dye lot B. But I’d settle for any dye lot to be honest as I know Wendy has gone into administration. I met Clare who runs Clare’s Wool Shop in Bude last week – turns out she had also been using Mary’s pattern and is one ball short. I have been offered 10 balls of the same colour but different dye lot by a lady who bought up the Wendy supply of wool when it went bust. I’d rather explore the one ball option first ! I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle another gansey just yet !

  • Song

    Surely recidivist herring have already *had* their second chance?

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