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Scottish Fleet, Week 3: 24 August

Body 2On Saturday I was walking along the south cliffs overlooking the harbour when I passed two women, and as I walked by I overheard what they were saying.

The younger said, ‘It was in the bar. This guy walked over to me and said, you don’t sweat much for a fat girl, do you?’

‘That’s what he said?’

‘That was his chat-up line.’

‘Ooh, what a charmer.’

And then they were out of earshot, but the sound of their raucous laughter followed me all the way along the cliffs. I’m not sure why, but it cheered me up enormously.

Meanwhile, Margaret’s off on her travels again; this week, she’s slipped the surly bonds of Wick and gone to Romania on laughter-silvered wings, unless I’m thinking of a different airline, so I apologise for the sudden drop in quality of pictures.Body 1

The gansey is nearly ten inches long already, and because it’s a narrower chest than the last few I’ve knitted I can just about manage three rows an hour instead of my usual two. At this rate I’ll be able to start thinking about the yoke pattern in a week or two. (N.B., the photos are making it look blue—it’s really not, it’s seaspray.)

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Someone at Forsinard Nature Reserve has a sense of humour…

Do people still write poetry? I don’t mean the professionals, I mean ordinary coves like you and me; back in the 1980s and 1990s it seemed that everyone I met wrote terribly serious poems about Life in their spare time—as a friend of mine once remarked, more people were writing it than ever found time to actually read it.

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Wick Harbour on a sunny day

But you don’t come across it so much anymore outside of schools. Maybe the growth of self-publishing ebooks has killed off the amateur poet – seems everyone’s writing novels and fanfiction nowadays. (Or maybe the poets just got fed up with trying to find a rhyme for “width” or “orange”?)

Anyway, I’ve been going through my old papers and the other day I came across some poems I wrote in my university days (I also found an old photo of me with hair down to my shoulders, but I don’t think the world is quite ready for that yet). Here’s my favourite, a cheerful piece of nonsense written over 30 years ago in Manchester’s Marie Louise Gardens, when I should have been revising:

Upon the grass before me / A springing squirrel bounds, / His furry feet are quite petite, / He’s making squirrel sounds.

With flashing grace he leaps his haste, / His billowed tail trailing; / He’s flexed his knee and climbed a tree / And hopped over the railing.

7 comments to Scottish Fleet, Week 3: 24 August

  • That has got to be the silliest bit of compost I’ve read in eons. It definitely goes with shoulder length hair & back gardens. I think people still write ‘poetry’ but either they don’t tell anyone or they put it on their blogs nowadays. Never having been a poetry writer or lover, I prefer knitting porn. That gansey is coming along nicely!!

    • Gordon

      Well, Sharon, I must say if you prefer knitting porn you are well hardcore and leave the rest of us standing. In fact, I think this is something the knitting community has rather shied away from to date—fluffy toy animals, yes; dynamic scenes of consenting adults doing what might at a distance pass for press-ups, not so much. (Speaking personally, mind you, I had to lie down after my first knitting tutorial was all about inserting needles; it was like watching “Trainspotting” all over again…) 🙂

  • Lynne

    I still write poetry, but it’s usually quite personal, as in memories of good times with friends that I put in greeting cards. I wrote poems to three grandchildren just prior to their birth, then took them to the nursery when they were born and the nurses were kind enough to put the baby’s footprints on the card stock. Then I framed them for their rooms.
    When I need a chuckle, I pull out a book of e.e.cummings.
    Looking forward to seeing the next graphed pattern for Seaspray.

    • Gordon

      Hello Lynne, good for you, and what a clever idea.

      My “holy trinity” of poets (TS Eliot, Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin) are not generally known for their sense of humour (with the exception of Eliot’s Old Possum), and with good reason—but I do have a very soft spot for the early poems of Wendy Cope. Here’s her poem “Loss”, which gives you the general idea:

      The day he moved out was terrible –
      That evening she went through hell.
      His absence wasn’t a problem,
      But the corkscrew had gone as well.

  • Jane

    Very lovely, and hidden talents! I think that the writing of poetry is very much alive and well, but that nobody talks about it much these busy days!

    Great work on the gansey, I am still totally impressed by its upstanding nature and I do so like the colour. I have reached the pattern on the “Print of the Hoof” and am rather enjoying it. It has an agreeable flow to it, but I remain in awe of those earlier knitters who carried all their patterns in their heads.

    Weather in the South remains dire. Spike has cheered up and started to eat properly again. However, he has a very nasty scratch on his nose acquired in a scuffle yesterday. Baxter, bless him, has clobbered the bad cat, at least three times, even dragging him out of a tree. Baxter is an amiable chap, slow to anger, but large and somewhat formidable. Perhaps the tables are staring to turn! Take care!

  • Gordon

    Hi Jane, it’s just like old times having a gansey that stands up on its own. In fact it’s starting to unnerve me, as it seems to shuffle round so it’s facing me wherever I stand in the room, like Terry Pratchett’s Luggage. I’m already reluctant to turn my back on it, just in case it gets ideas. The other day I left a dictionary lying around and when I came back the page was open at “garrotte”…

    I know what you mean about the old knitters, but here’s the thing – first of all they wouldn’t have had dozens of patterns to memorise, or at least not as many as we do (since we have the entire history of gansey knitting at our fingertips); but also I’m at the stage where once I’ve worked out the pattern I don’t need the chart. (I didn’t refer to one on my last gansey after the first row, for instance.) So I think I can honestly say that after 30 years practice does help!

    It’s the ones that are slow to anger that you have to watch out for, in people as in humans. (Voice of experience, there.) Perhaps Baxter’s motto should be, “speak softly and carry a bloody big set of claws”?

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