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Seed Panel Gansey: Week 5 – 23 November

It’s about thirty years since I last sprained my ankle so this week, in a spirit of scientific enquiry, I decided to find out if it hurt as much as I remembered. (Spoiler alert: it did.) I was coming downstairs; near the bottom I missed a step, skidded over two more and slammed down hard at ground level; at the same time clutching desperately for the banister, so my body twisted in one plane while my foot remained anchored in another. For a few moments my whole lower body seemed to ring like a bell with the shock. I remember reading years ago that Roman forts were surrounded by a steep-sided ditch with a small groove running along at the bottom like a drain; the idea being that if your enemy fell into the ditch, their foot might slip into the groove and twist, snap, or sprain—just the sort of sneaky trick you’d expect from a people whose nouns take five declensions—and I thought, ah, okay, now I get it.

Skeletal remains of flowers

I balanced against a handy radiator and manipulated my foot to make sure nothing was broken, like an ex-ballet dancer addicted to macaroni cheese pies limbering up at the barre. Nothing was broken, but I began to feel unpleasantly faint. A minute later I was flat on my back, more or less unplugged from the rest of the world. I didn’t quite black out, though I’d have been hard pressed to, say, name all the various members of Fairport Convention after 1969. I sweated immoderately, too, all the way through assorted over- and underclothing, as well as the carpet; if we had a cellar, I expect I’d have dripped in there too. As an experience I can’t honestly say I recommend it. And yet, now the shock is over, considered as a sprain it’s not too bad: bit of swelling, bit of pain, lots of bruises (fascinating to observe them slowly spread all the way to my toenails—I expect a time-lapse montage would look like a rather disappointing cuttlefish mating display). It could on the whole, I feel, be worse.

Mid-day shadows on Williamson Street

Still, having to rest one’s ankle and keep it elevated is the perfect excuse to sit and knit. I’ve finished the back of the gansey and have set up base camp on the front. It’s early days, but so far my cunning wheeze of adding cables to prevent “yoke creep” seems to be paying off. Though it was, I realise, a schoolboy error to start a project in navy in the depths of winter, suckered in as I was by a solitary day of sunshine. Last week I dropped a stitch which slipped a few rows down. By the time I’d fixed it I somehow managed to end up with the wrong side facing and had knit the best part of a row backwards before I noticed. Still, I’m past the halfway point, and shall soldier on.

Odd One Out

Finally, to cheer ourselves up, let me end with a Scottish joke—an old one, but it was new to me and made me lol, as young people say nowadays, which adds a whole new meaning to lolling about. An English professor was invited to give a talk at a Scottish university. He thought, I’ll teach them about nationalism, and finished his talk with the words, “I was born an Englishman, I have lived as an Englishman and I will die an Englishman”. Whereupon a voice from the back called out, “God man, have you nae ambition…?”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

10 comments to Seed Panel Gansey: Week 5 – 23 November

  • Chris Hann

    Yeah, shock is inconvenient. I’ve had a couple of bad sprains and I have been lucky with the shock aspect. I don’t really know why, or how. Last time my foot rolled off a rock on Twin Peaks in San Francisco and I decided to go head first down some more stairs instead of taking all the weight of the fall on the rolling ankle. I knew before I stood up that if the ankle wasn’t broken the real issue was going to be the rib I hit on the big wooden stair riser. Stairs is a grand term for earth held back by 2x12s lumber. I expect most people have experienced a bad sprain. It’s a surprising shock to the system. Mostly I just felt stupid and wanted to get away. I rolled around until my feet were on the downward side again and got up and told people I was fine. I could feel the ankle swelling already. When I got back into the car I remember sitting there thinking “Calm. Deep breaths. Nothing to see here.” But I was right about the rib, I spent weeks not being able to sleep in bed, only in a seat with my leg on the bed. Fortunate that we had a very comfortable arm chair in the bedroom.

    At least the flip side of the short dark days is the endless days of summer. I think it’s funny when Americans complain about it getting dark early, because to me it always gets dark early here. Even down in Arisaig, in the summer the sun didn’t set until long after most people are in bed, and was up again long before they were awake. And where you are it never even gets properly dark in June. But you can’t knit 24-7 to make up for the six hours of half decent light now.

    A joke for your joke: when Scots emigrate to England the average IQ of both countries rises.

    Get well soon. Stay off your feet.

  • =Tamar

    Ouch. At the same time that I’m wincing in sympathy, I’m relieved that it wasn’t as bad as a similar accident a friend had years ago, that resulted in breakage.

    Take care of yourself.

    Being of Scots ancestry, I like the joke.

  • Dee

    Good wishes for a speedy recovery! Injuring one’s foot is no joke. During a time period requiring crutches, I made the disheartening discovery that I couldn’t even manage to carry a bowl of cereal to feed myself.

    The Scottish joke is cutting. I feel a bit mean, having also “lolled” at it. 🙂

  • Oh oops!! Sorry to hear about the ankle. I can wholly sympathise with you there, I’m STILL recovering from my fractured and dislocated ankle, so yes, been there, done that and got the tee shirt
    Have you used arnica? You really should it helps with the bruising. If you can’t get out to buy some from Boots etc, then try Helios Pharmacy, you’ll find them on line. Take care now

  • Dave

    Nice work – well done Gordon.

    As my dad would have said “Is the banister alright?”. Last time I had a similar experience was when I slipped a disc lifting a piece of railway line we were using as shuttering for laying concrete. I spent a long time wondering if I would be able to move before the concrete set around my feet. Anyway, get well soon. I would lay off the ice skating for a while.

    I bet the Romans invented the declension. Either that or they hired some Athenian Greeks to do it for them. Evil people.

  • Lois Hooper

    Ouch! Gives me the shivers just thinking about it. Look on the bright side – it wasn’t your wrist!

    My few drops of Highland Scottish blood are quietly sniggering at the English remainder.

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon, it seems to me that You have a special reason for Thanksgiving this year . The gansey looks fine. Regards from Finland .

  • Sharon in Surrey

    Another wonderful sweater on the way!! But you must live to finish it. I remember one bad sprain – all the crew were wearing proper work boots but me & guess who got carried out of the bush?? And I ended up bruised from knee to toes on the right side! I think the sprain is worse than a break . . . so you look after yourself & take all the help & fussing you can get!!

  • Gordon

    Hello everyone and many thanks for the tea and sympathy. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply individually—between the ankle and being intensely busy at work I tend to lapse into a vegetative state of an evening, the only signs of life a thin trickle of drool that blends with the grey in my beard, and rhythmic snoring, like someone trying to start a lawnmower on a frosty morning. Is it Christmas yet?

  • Lynne Brock

    This must be the month for ankle injuries, my neighbor broke hers in my driveway delivering my mail while I was in quarantine, and a cousin broke his the week before. I, also, have the “T-shirt” from 30 years ago, and at least your passing out was a bit more delicate than my ‘hurling’!
    The gansey is really handsome, there’s just nothing to compare to Navy!
    Good luck healing the ankle, ice packs now, Epsom Salts soaks later.

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