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Week 14: 1 – 7 March

I’ve fallen in love with the Count of Monte Cristo – the novel by Alexandre Dumas, of course, just in case any of you thought I was taking advantage of Margaret’s absence to explore other sides of my personality – which I’d never read before. I’ve been listening to it as an audiobook downloaded from iTunes – 50 hours for £6 is pretty good value. It’s perfect to knit to, since it’s just a well-told story; by which I mean, it’s a ripping yarn and you don’t have to concentrate on the words to get at the meaning as you sometimes have to do with, say, Hardy or Conrad.

It also has the huge advantage that it’s all about a well-planned and executed revenge for a terrible wrong, which I feel has some relevance to my present situation (as I prepare to leave my job in April). All I need is an astonishingly large fortune and I can wreak a dreadful vengeance on those who have wronged me – for, as the Klingons say, “revenge, like strawberry blancmange, is a dish best served cold”.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I’m now two-thirds of the way up the back of the gansey. I must confess, I don’t quite have the hang of the yarnovers yet – the chevrons are fine, but I’ve made a couple of mistakes on the central diamond which I was more or less able to rectify – if you don’t look too closely. (The difficulty is that, with Margaret being away, I’ve been operating without a safety net, and as my usual technique for dealing with problems is to drop and pick up stitches at random in the hopes that sooner or later I’ll get lucky. A high risk strategy, I admit.)

The feeling on discovering a yarnover in the wrong place on the previous row (which is in reverse, of course, like a negative image on a photograph) is not dissimilar to realising that you should have carried the 1 at the start of a lengthy calculation on the existence of dark matter – a sort of hot flush that starts at the shoulders and rises gently till it reaches the eyebrows, while a cold sensation spreads down the spine like a slug which has just escaped from devouring your salad in the fridge.

Still adjusting to life without the cat. One of the after-effects of all my eye problems has been a sort of periodic flash in the corner of my right eye, which looks like movement – imagine a glimpse of a rat scurrying quickly past and gone – and now I keep looking round thinking it’s her. Damn it.

6 comments to Week 14: 1 – 7 March

  • Lynne

    Oh, those dreaded yarn-over corrections! Whenever I’ve done any knitting lessons, I always caution against patterns with yarn-overs for new knitters (and I avoid them, myself, like the plague)! – but your sweater is looking splendid!

    I can empathize those furtive glances for the cat. For two years after we lost our 14 year old cat, I was ‘seeing’ those eyes at the screen door waiting for it to open for her. I had to adopt another, just so I was seeing something real.

  • Nigel

    Cat revenge.

    My wife doesn’t get along with our cat. She refuses to have him on her knee, to feed him or anything else. Although she did buy him a new bed recently. The other day we went out all day with the kids and forgot to put him out. When we got back he had left a warm, smelly parcel on HER side of the bed, not mine you note, just where she might put her feet on getting up.
    Needless to say he has had to pay for this insolence, but I can’t help feeling he that he’s happier.

  • Gordon

    Hi Lynne and Nigel,

    Yes, I think I’m pushing the envelope of my abilities with yarnovers! But I do like the effect. They’re incredibly simple to do once you’ve got the knack, but I can’t get my head around the corrections.

    I’ve probably mentioned this before, but once many years ago when Margaret was away I visited a friend in Manchester. When I got back at midnight I duly checked the house for cat “incidents” but all was clear. Reassured, I climbed exhausted into bed, only to find that one little swine had been sick under the duvet right at the bottom of the bed where a hot water bottle would be! I can still feel the cold, wet sensation between my toes…

    Cats, eh? Yes, I think we’ll have to get another couple once we’ve sorted out what we’re doing, and where.


  • =Tamar

    A “ripping yarn”, eh? Don’t think we don’t notice that sort of thing.

    I usually mark the offending stitch(es) with safety-pin markers and poke a knitting needle through the stitches above until I’ve worked my way up to the place where things must be done.

  • Suzanne

    It is more than likely that your eyes have very little to do with the peripheral glimpses of cat. We have always been ‘haunted’ for a nonspecific period of time by whatever feline has most recently departed our company. I am surprised that you did not report hearing her wail as well. Our feline ghosts also vocalize and, incredibly, jump down off the bed with a resounding thump. When we hear this overhead from the living room, we exchange uneasy glances.

    Before they come and lock me up for having revealed too much of my mental instability, I do want to say that the gansey is looking wonderful. YOs, and the attending migration caused by their corresponding decreases, take a little getting used to. As far as I can tell, your improvised fixes worked out pretty well.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar, you caught me! (I know it’s not original, but the old ones are the best, as they say.) The problem I have is that even when I know where I made the mistake I sometimes can’t comprehend what the problem is, or how to dismantle it and rebuild it. In the past I put this down to my very poor eyesight – alas i don’t have that excuse any more!

    And Suzanne, I know what you mean, I think – noises I put down to the cat are still occurring, which means I daresay the flat is just noisier than I realised, but it still unsettles me. The peripheral glimpses though were there before, all part of the vitreal detachment experience, and were just like a half-seen blur of rat (or if I shut my eyes, a flash photograph just behind me). But now I look for the cat and the two get confused. It’s a recognised symptom of bereavement too, I know. Mind you, my nightmare is being haunted by that scraggy air-raid siren wail – one thing I’ve been spared…

    Thanks all for the nice comments on the gansey. If I decide to apply for the job in the Hebrides I shall go hunting for examples of the original models!