Autumn has come to Caithness, as the nights draw in and the leaves turn burnished gold—at least I assume they do; it’s hard to tell, as the wind is gusting so strongly there’s just a vague suggestion of yellow as the leaves are stripped from the branches and sent scything at passers-by like ninja throwing stars. On our street alone there’ve been three leaf-related fatalities this week.
I treated myself to a new ebook reader, one of those fancy ones you can read in bed without having to turn on the light. Partly I bought it for ease of reading; partly because I got fed up reading a heavy iPad in bed, losing both my concentration and my grip and having it slam into my face (it got so embarrassing turning up to work with a bruised and swollen nose so often I had to pretend I moonlighted as a bare-knuckle fighter).
I’m a big fan of ebook readers. I know their main selling point is being able to read 50 Shades of Grey in public without anyone knowing, or in my case Ulysses without being beaten up, but I love having all my favourite books with me wherever I go. And, yes, I love the physicality of a good book—but the binding of a number of paperbacks I bought in the 70s has cracked and broken, so that all I’m left with is a handful of loose pages and some fading memories. Typeface or electronic ink—in the end, it’s all written on water; it’s the words that matter.
In gansey news, I’ve finished the half-gussets, divided front and back and am now well advanced up the back. You can see the pattern more clearly now: although it’s another very simple pattern, and delightfully easy to keep track of, the combination of knit and purl stitches, light and shade and cables, make it a something of a classic.
Finally this week, I was told the following story which comes from the Second World War. Well, the county’s Home Guard platoons all took part in a great exercise in which they had to pretend to attack one of the small villages on the east coast of Caithness. All the way there, this particular contingent argued as to how best to make their attack; some said one way, some said another. The arguments dragged on and on until at last they agreed to attack along the coast. They crept along the cliffs until they finally reached the command post and rushed in—only to find everyone was sitting around drinking tea. They’d spent so long arguing about how to attack the exercise was over before they got there…