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Scottish Fleet, Week 4: 30 August

SF150831-1 I’ve been suffering from a small migraine, more of a migrainette, today. This isn’t one of the really bad ones—I can tell because the walls aren’t melting and I haven’t tried to gouge my eyeballs out with a teaspoon—but I feel as if a small, invisible baboon is sitting on my chest and, with each heartbeat, inserting a needle into my temple.

When a migraine’s really bad nothing makes sense; I even lose my ability to understand simple English. I remember once standing for about fifteen minutes in Northampton town centre trying to grasp the meaning of a sign which read: “Parking limited to 30 minutes. No return for 1 hour.” (In all seriousness, I couldn’t work out how the car could only be parked for 30 minutes but I couldn’t come back to it for twice that long before I could drive it away—if I’d been an evil robot in Star Trek I’d have exploded in a puff of logical paradox.)

SF150831-2Eventually a policeman happened along and I asked him to explain it to me. He did so, though he gave me a very dubious look and asked, “Do you know where you live, sir?”

Still, I’ve made good progress on the gansey this week, which now stands at 14 inches long (or it would do, if it didn’t collapse under its own weight like an imploding blue-green star). Another inch or two and I’ll start the yoke and the pattern, which I’ll post next week.

In parish news, Suzanne has sent pictures of this superb gansey-inspired jumper, knit in New Zealand merino-possum yarn, and showing once again the versatility of the gansey concept. (Though I must admit, I’m troubled at the thought of just how they got the merinos and possums to mate…)

150830

John o’Groats: All in one view

Finally this week, I came across this great anecdote from World War Two. It’s from the book “Operation Mincemeat” about the British plans to deceive the Germans over the invasion of Sicily. Apparently the submarine and crew which took part in the operation had previously smuggled US general Mark Clark to Algeria for a secret meeting. At one point after midnight the whole party had to hide in the cellar when the gendarmes happened to call, and one of the British commandos developed a cough he couldn’t control.

Obviously, discovery would have meant disaster but Clark hastily passed the man some chewing gum, and the danger passed. Afterwards the commando thanked him, but observed, “Your American chewing gum has so little taste.”

“Yes,” Clark agreed. “I’ve already used it.”

13 comments to Scottish Fleet, Week 4: 30 August

  • Sharon in Surrey

    Sorry to hear about your migraine. It has to be pretty bloody awful when you can’t even knit!! Hope it goes away soonest. Loved Suzanne’s gansey inspired sweater, by the way. She created a beautiful pattern in the end & it looks so comfortable. And, you sure gave me a great morning laugh with your gum story. I loved it.

    • Gordon

      Hi Sharon, the technical term for a lot of what I experience is “dysfunctionality”, the sense of weirdness and things not making sense. Sometimes it’s as if the brain can’t process the signals from both eyes, but has them running in my head like parallel television screens, each showing the same programme … just slightly out of phase. On the plus side, I do get a craving for chocolate, so it’s not all bad!

  • Song

    Oh, I’m with your confused self on that sign. It’s poorly written. It took me several minutes of hard, non-migraine thought to figure out wtf they meant.

    (I love the Commando story!)

    Song

    • Gordon

      Hi Song, I still giggle when I see the road sign in Massachusetts that says “Frost Heaves”, conjuring up images of nauseous snowmen, so it’s probably true to say road signs and i just don’t get along. (Mind you, Margaret feels similarly about the “Changed Priorities Ahead” road sign in Britain, as if continuing down the road mean you’ll end up rethinking your life. It could happen.)

  • Jane

    Sorry to hear about the migraine troubles, such a trial. My other, and probably more worthier, half suffers badly off and on, they seem to travel in groups, and he permanently has a packet of brightly coloured tablets to make the ache go away in his pocket.

    Lovely progress on the gansey, and I admit I am somewhat relieved it now lies down, no chance of it dancing down the road!

    The weather in the South continues to be wet, unbelievably wet. Gladys’s cardie is progressing quite nicely, five small columns of cable, two of zig zag

  • Jane

    And four panels of double moss, all very gratifying. I am much interrupted still by cat watching. Baxter has biffed the bad cat twice, but Spike has got two nasty scratches on his nose and one on his ear, a fearless warrior but a bit on the small, light side, ahh well. Take care!

  • Gordon

    Hi Jane, I get about two really bad migraines a year, but I get much milder ones sometimes once a week, sometimes more often. Some of the strangest come when I dream flashing lights in my sleep, and then wake up with the headache! (This is when I feel like Terry Pratchett’s “Oh God”, who experienced the hangovers of another god who was permanently drunk…) But at other times I feel as though I’m on the verge of solving the eternal mystery of existence, as though just for a moment everything makes sense, if only…

    In fact, when I’ve perfected my time machine I shall go back in time and just slip each prophet of the ancient world a couple of paracetamol and codeine tablets and shall therefore reconcile, at a stroke, all the world’s religions…

  • Dee

    Hello Gordon,

    I’ve been enjoying your knitting and sense of humour for a while now.

    But I’m finally commenting because of your migraine! Trouble understanding things is par for the course, isn’t it? I’m impressed you could still read the sign, even if you couldn’t understand the meaning.

    I used to get migraines, complete with the light show. You mentioned chocolate craving – sometimes that can be a sign that you need magnesium. Magnesium can be very good for avoiding migraines. I’ve not had one for quite a long time, of course that could have to do with more than just me taking magnesium. I think changing my diet to avoid some foods probably made a big difference, too.

    Hope your migrainette diminshed so as to be non-existant.

    • Gordon

      Hi Dee, good to hear from you. Thank for that. I hadn’t come across a link between magnesium and migraines – having always taken my craving of chocolate to mean that I craved, well, chocolate. (But what if I no longer got migraines but no longer craved chocolate either – quelle horreur!)

      There are some foods that I know give me migraines, Indian curries being one of the most reliable. (So I tend to have them on Fridays and Saturdays but not on days when I’ve got to go to work, which I think is called managing one’s addiction…) And I’m so entwined with my love for coffee that I’m no longer sure if it’s drinking coffee or giving it up that causes the headaches! Probably both.

      Well. I shall explore the magnesium option. I see I should get it from green, leafy vegetables and brown rice, so maybe i should just man up and be a better vegetarian, the kind who actually eats vegetables, instead of the kind who eats cream cakes and chocolate…

  • Jane

    Chocolate, especially plain, is a useful source of potassium, my Mum is on Warfarin and has to keep levels up. What chocolate and migraines signify I dunno, I just offer up a bit of info. I think seaweed, which means sushi to me, may also be useful!

  • Judit M/ Finland

    Hello,
    Why did you close the comments on Suzanne´s gansey ? I just wanted to congratulate her to this superb pattern.

    • Gordon

      Nothing to do with us, Judit! The site seems to have a glitch and has moved some things around. We’ll try to get it sorted tomorrow – apologies for the inconvenience, Gordon

  • Nigel

    An interesting tale, Operation Mincemeat. The writer produced a good TV bio of Kim Philby, too

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