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Thurso: 3 August

ThTh150730-1I discovered an article in the paper today about famous last words. Of course all the usual stories and jokes were there, and I thought I’d share with you two of my favourites.

The first was Rabelais on his deathbed. When a priest called on him to renounce Satan and all his works the great man allegedly replied, “Come now, my good man, this is hardly the time to start making enemies.”

The second was a prisoner condemned to be hanged, and I love it for the sheer cheek of the thing. When he stepped onto the rickety scaffold, he’s said to have looked down and asked, “Is this thing safe?”


Portrait of an archivist realising he’ll either have to  breathe in soon or expire…

Well, I have this week finished the Thurso gansey, which has been washed and expertly blocked by Margaret and, as you’ll see from the pictures, has already been taken for a test drive. It’s deliberately a slightly closer fit than some of my recent ganseys, as I went for a traditional chest-size-plus-four-inches width, thus showing off my manly physique and probably risking cutting off circulation to the extremities if I don’t give Tesco’s doughnuts a wide berth in future.

This really is a great pattern, almost an archetypical gansey design—very simple to knit, easily adjusted to any size, aesthetically attractive and very strong, with all those clean lines standing out boldly as they catch the light.


Attack of the Giant Invertebrates From Mars!

The gansey photos were taken down by the Riverside, not long before the fireworks display that closed Wick Gala each year. There had been a few downpours earlier in the evening, soaking the ground and drenching the bonfire, so that even when lit it just smouldered a bit, lying there like a great beached sperm whale enjoying a quiet cigarette.


John O’Groats Hotel in the… what is that? Sunshine or something?

Then the skies cleared for the fireworks which were, as usual, rather splendid. We stood on the lane leading down to the river and watched them being fired behind the trees on the other side, so that they seemed to be exploding directly overhead, arching over us as though we were about to be devoured by giant space jellyfish. And once it was over both the town of Wick and the funfair were obscured by drifting clouds of gunpowder smoke—which I couldn’t help feeling was something of a win-win, in retrospect.

Right. I’m off now to compose my own last words. At the moment I’m torn between, “What are you looking at?” and “But I got this remedy off the internet…”

19 comments to Thurso: 3 August

  • Very beautiful gansey! Good work!

    • Gordon

      Thank, you Lillemor. I’d recommend this pattern to anyone, it’s amazing how effective it looks with such simple patterning!

  • Lynne

    I like that fit better, I think it shows off the pattern better than the looser fit, and yes, your physique, too. It’s absolutely stunning!

    • Gordon

      Why thank you, Lynne, I have been keeping myself in trim, and… What? You meant the pullover? (*retreats in blushing confusion to buy and devour in one sitting a 12-pack of Tesco’s custard doughnuts and a catering bag of sugar*)

  • Judit M. / Finland

    Gordon, congrats to the new gansey ! The
    colour is fine, the fit is perfect. Very well done !

    • Gordon

      Thank you, Judit! I almost feel as though, after nearly 30 years of practice, I’m starting to get the hang of it at last…

      • Judit M./Finland

        Übung macht den Meister !

        • Gordon

          Ha, well, I was going to go with “Many a mickle maks a muckle, but your saying probably is more apt! (Though personally there are plenty of times when it should say, “Übung macht den Lehrling…”)

  • Jane

    Superb work, great pattern and colour and so well done, many congratulations!

    • Gordon

      Thank you, Jane, it is rather natty, isn’t it? Plus it has the advantage that no one will notice if I spill red wine all down the front!

  • Sharon in Surrey

    It turned out to be a lovely sweater & fits you very well. I think the closer fit is a really good one for you. It will be less likely to catch on things when you fall down the Rabbit Hole.

  • Jean Swarm

    Gordon,your latest creation has turned out beautifully! I have really enjoyed “watching” it come to fruition.

    • Gordon

      Thank you, Jean. Occasionally I’ve thought of turning our snapshots of weekly progress into a time-lapse film, like those nature documentaries that show plants growing, or the tides coming in and out – in fact, all I need is an Arts Council grant and I can call it an arts installation!

  • Lee

    Beautiful work, Gordon. I am amazed at how quickly this sweater was finished. Love the pattern–I am inspired to try this one.

  • =Tamar

    I love that color. The design is indeed natty. It reminds me slightly of the 17th century knitted silk pullovers; I find myself looking for the buttons down the center.

    • Gordon

      Hello Tamar, I think it would make a good cardigan design, too, which is perhaps one for the future. I’m a little surprised at how ell the damson colour works – not quite as dark as navy, but not a pastel shade either; and in the sun it has a purplish tint, while in the shade it looks more brown. One I’ll be returning to, I think!

  • Song

    I say, I love the gansey. However, I have always liked the version of Socrates’ last words I was taught – it goes with the very famous painting of him on his couch, one arm raised with finger pointing vigorously up and the other hand holding the infamous cup. And he’s shouting, “I drank WHAT?!?”

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